Tennis: Coco Gauff comes from behind to claim second straight ASB Classic title with win over Elina Svitolina

Coco Gauff has claimed a second-straight ASB Classic title, coming from behind to defeat Elina Svitolina 6-7 (7-4), 6-3, 6-3 on Sunday.  

In a clash of the tournament's top two seeds, the 19-year-old became the first woman since Julia Goerges in 2019 to defend her title, and the seventh in the tournament's history.  

The win forced Gauff to come back from a set down – the first set she's dropped in the last two editions of the tournament – and hold off Svitolina in a blockbuster clash that lasted more than two-and-a-half hours.  

While having to settle for second, Svitolina can take solace from being the first woman to truly push Gauff at the ASB Classic over the past two years.

Coco Gauff has defended her ASB Classic title.
Coco Gauff has defended her ASB Classic title. Photo credit: Getty Images

The world No.25 endured a demanding week that included wins over former Grand Slam winners Caroline Wozniacki and Emma Raducanu.  

But ultimately, Gauff's easier run proved to be beneficial, appearing as the fresher of the two players as the match dragged on.  

After playing through injury to book a spot in Sunday's final, and despite sporting an ankle brace for the first time this week, Svitolina appeared untroubled by her body early on.  

Even as Gauff broke serve for the first time in the match at 2-1, Svitolina got her own back instantly, before squaring the first set at 3-3 one game later.  

But with the form that's seen her untroubled throughout the entire tournament, Gauff broke again to earn a 5-3 lead, and earn the chance to serve for the first set.   

Refusing to lie down, though, Svitolina saved two set points, and then broke Gauff at 5-4, and held to make it 5-5.  

As Gauff struggled with her serve, Svitolina didn't need any second invitation, and forced a tiebreak to take the first set 7-6 (7-4) after more than an hour of play.  

Dropping the first set ended a remarkable run for Gauff, who hadn't fallen behind in a match since her second-round exit to Laura Siegemund in 2020, including winning the 2023 title.  

But that only spurred the reigning champion on, as Gauff immediately broke to begin the second set.   

At 3-2 up, Gauff saved two break points from Svitolina, and then broke once again for a 5-2 lead to eventually square the ledger at one set apiece with a 6-3 in 46 minutes.  

Svitolina delayed the final set slightly, with a medical timeout for her foot, but as she did in Saturday's win over Wang Xiyu, played on through discomfort.

Both players were able to hold, but a break at 4-3 gave Gauff the chance to serve for the match.  

And after saving break point, Gauff needed just one championship point, and claimed silverware for the seventh time in her career with a 6-3 win in the final set.   

Last year, Gauff's ASB Classic victory paved the way for a maiden Grand Slam title at the US Open in September. Now, the world No.3 will be hoping this year's success can do the same, starting at the Australian Open in Melbourne later this month.