LINZ, Austria – Tamara Korpatsch ended the challenge of up-and-coming star Coco Gauff at the Linz Open, defeating the 15-year-old, 6-4, 6-2 in the second round of qualifying.
Korpatsch, the WTA World No.130, had already scored an impressive win to oust No.3 seed Arantxa Rus in three sets and came through in 74 minutes against the exciting teenager.
She was made to fight back from behind in both sets but ultimately had more consistency to her game than her younger rival.
It was Gauff, ranked 20 places higher in the Rankings than her opponent, who dominated the early stages of the match, aided by a confidence-boosting break in its very first game.
Indeed, she manufactured a chance to claim a further break in the third game, but instead Korpatsch got on the board.
When the German drew level, it was a break that came out of nowhere. Gauff had won her first 10 points on serve and was broken on the first break point her opponent created. It proved, however, to be a watershed moment in the set.
Play stayed on serve to 5-4, yet with Gauff having previously sealed a third love game of the set, she was broken once more. Initially, she saved a set point with a gutsy backhand down the line, yet that same flank let her down on successive occasions as she went crosscourt, giving her opponent the edge.
Gauff played some glorious tennis at the start of the second, notably a brilliant dropshot as she held then coming out on top of a sharp net exchange to break.
However, she had trouble with her second serve and after double faulting, she rapidly fell 15-40 down in the next game. Although she remained aggressive, a foray to the net was met with a dipping pass from Korpatsch that she could only plop into the net from her shoelaces.
Perhaps the crucial moment of the match followed in the next game as a blistering exchange – the best of the match – was finished by a fine Korpatsch passing shot. From there, the 24-year-old took command, with Gauff falling a break down after playing a succession of loose shots in the next game.
The American managed to briefly rally, moving 0-30 ahead, but the more experienced player dealt with the situation in an exemplary manner, showing her experience to throw in a rare drop en route to sealing the game.
This proved to be Gauff’s last chance as she was broken once again as Korpatsch sealed her place in the main draw.