Gauff into main draw, Collins progresses

22 February 2021, by Matt Trollope

American teen star Coco Gauff sealed her place in the main draw of the Adelaide International after a three-set win over Kaja Juvan in the final round of Adelaide International qualifying on Monday.

The 16-year-old, already on the cusp of the top 50, trailed 6-3 3-0 before recovering to beat the Slovenian 3-6 7-5 6-3.

Gauff, who reached the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2019 and the same stage at Australian Open 2020, is still to know her first-round opponent.

In the evening session, world No.37 Danielle Collins of the USA saw off China’s Saisai Zheng 7-6(5) 6-1 to set up a second-round meeting with world No.1 Ash Barty on Wednesday.

The first player to notch a first-round win on Monday was Anastasija Sevastova, who dismantled former world No.4 Caroline Garcia 6-2 6-4.

Sevastova a former world No.11 herself, had lost 20 of her past 26 matches coming into the contest, but benefitted from 32 Garcia unforced errors to set up a second-round clash with No.4 seed Elise Mertens.

“She’s also an amazing ball-striker, she hits so flat and so fast, so I had a good practice now (against Garcia) to be ready for that,” Sevastova, the world No.56, said of Mertens.

DRAW: Adelaide International women’s singles

American Shelby Rogers was another to reach round two with a 6-3 7-6(4) win over Veronika Kudermetova.

“I’ve just gained a little perspective,” said Rogers, who next faces No.3 seed Johanna Konta.

“I had knee surgery a couple of years ago, so just really having fun, enjoying myself out here and being really thankful that we have a job and we can perform and do what we love.

“I’ve tried to change my mindset a little around that and believe in myself more.”

Following Sevastova onto Memorial Drive’s Centre Court was No.8 seed Wang Qiang, who overcame Australian wildcard Olivia Gadecki 6-4 6-3.

Gadecki, an 18-year-old from Queensland, has enjoyed a strong start to 2021, winning a round in Australian Open qualifying before advancing to the third round of last week’s WTA Phillip Island Trophy.

But she was no match for former world No.12 Wang, who will meet either Kristina Mladenovic or Jil Teichmann in the last 16.

Although Gadecki exited, there was better news for her countrywomen in qualifying, with Storm Sanders and Maddison Inglis notching impressive wins to join Gauff as final-round victors.

Sanders, a qualifying wildcard ranked 292nd, was on a five-match losing streak before arriving in Adelaide. Yet she stunned 65th-ranked American Bernarda Pera in her first match before beating McNally – a player ranked 174 places higher – 6-2 6-3 on Monday.

Inglis, meanwhile, ousted former world No.24 Christina McHale 4-6 6-2 6-1, and has now won three of her past four matches.

Another Australian, Astra Sharma, went down 3-6 6-2 6-1 to Italy’s Jasmine Paolini.