Gauff and Kontaveit triumph on day two
Coco Gauff produced a solid performance to defeat Ons Jabeur and record her first Tour-level clay court victory at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.
As well as displaying some good tennis, the 16-year-old American exhibited great mental fortitude, twice coming back from a break down in the first set to take the opener and holding her nerve in the middle of the second set to weather a series of breaks and seal a 6-4 6-3 win in windy conditions on Court Pietrangeli.
Gauff, the world No.53, fought back from a set and a break down to defeat the Tunisian in a dramatic match in Lexington last month but it was a more one-sided affair this time around as Jabeur struggled to display the style and variety that her game is renowned for, recording 29 unforced errors in the 80-minute affair.
“Yeah, definitely happy to get a win today, especially after a couple of tough losses back in New York.
I’m just happy to be playing. I think Ons played great today. She’s a tricky player, because she definitely changes the ball a little bit, so I knew it was going to be tough. So to get a win over her on clay is definitely really good,” said Gauff.
Anett Kontaveit battled past Caroline Garcia 6-3 7-6(1) to set up a second round match against former Roland Garros champion Svetlana Kuznetova who came back from a set down to defeat Bernarda Pera 3-6 7-6(3) 6-3.
It was a 20th win of the year for the Estonian who failed to serve out the match on two occasions but played an impressive final set tiebreak, winning seven points in a row, to finally get across the line. Both players hit 19 winners but Garcia was let down by her serve, landing just 38% of her first serves and recording nine double faults.
“I think I served a little bit more consistent maybe. You know, she had a couple double faults in the first set and in the second set. Yeah, I served for the match twice in the second set and couldn’t make any first serves, so she really took initiative well. I managed to actually get my serve back in the tiebreak and play a good tiebreak,” said Kontaveit.