Tennis: Top seed Coco Gauff kicks off ASB Classic title defence with routine first-round victory

  • 02/01/2024

American teen superstar Coco Gauff has begun her ASB Classic title defence with a straightforward 6-4 6-2 win over compatriot Claire Liu.

The world No. 3 shook off some early rust before closing out ger first victory of 2024 and sending an early warning to her rivals in the star-studded Auckland field.

Gauff hit the ground running against her fellow American, earning a break in Liu's first service game, before closing out a 4-0 lead with an ace.

Coco Gauff acknowledges the crowd after her win.
Coco Gauff acknowledges the crowd after her win. Photo credit: Getty Images

Liu stemmed the tide with a break of her own in the fourth game and as errors crept into Gauff's game - particularly with her serve - fought back into the contest.  

But the reigning US Open champion soon found her feet to close out the first set with a second break of serve.

She carried that momentum with her into the second set, again claiming an early break, as she found some rhythm with her play and set a pace Liu couldn't match.

"Today was a good win for me, a pretty straight forward match," Gauff said after the match.

"I had a hiccup in the first, but I was able to break back to win the set... I felt I can definitely improve on it.

"It wasn't my best and it wasn't my worst. It played how I was supposed to play to win."

"I feel like I can improve but for the first match I'm happy with how I played."

Gauff advances to face qualifier Brenda Fruhvirtova in the second round.

In earlier results on day two, NZ-born Lulu Sun ousted McCartney Kessler from America 6-4 6-3, before seventh seed Petra Martic overcame last year’s finalist Rebeka Masarova 3-6 6-3 6-3.