Coco Gauff explains how she got the better of Angelique Kerber as Leylah Fernandez also advances
Angelique Kerber’s losing run continued on Monday as the former world No 1 was beaten in the first round of the Italian Open by Coco Gauff while Leylah Fernandez and Simona Halep also picked up wins.
Three-time Grand Slam winner Kerber’s losing streak now stands at six as the German suffered a 6-1, 6-4 defeat at the hands of 14th seed Gauff in just 70 minutes at Foro Italico.
The American didn’t get off to the best of starts as she was broken in the opening game of the match, but it was the only game she dropped in the set as she broke three times.
The second set was more even with Gauff breaking in the first game before Kerber levelled in game four only for the 15th seed to edge ahead again in game five.
A quality finish for Coco 💪
— wta (@WTA) May 9, 2022
“We had a lot of close games even though the first set went, 6-1, a lot of games went to deuce or 30-30,” Gauff said.
“Footwork and movement against her was crucial. She can change direction on some balls that a lot of players can’t, so you don’t really expect it. I felt like I was off-footed a lot, but I think what came through today is really how I handled myself.”
Fellow teenager and US Open finalist Fernandez overcame a nightmare first set to get the better of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, winning 1-6, 6-2, 6-2 in just under two hours.
“She’s an incredible player and she’s very comfortable on clay. I knew it was going to be tough,” the Canadian said. “The first set, I made a few mistakes and she just took advantage of it. In the second set, I just wanted to play a little more freely, just letting go of my arms.
“Even though I lost the first game, I think it helped me to get into the match. Afterwards, my balls were just going in. I’m just glad that I was able to keep attacking, keep being on the offensive, even though I was making mistakes, and I still kept trusting myself.”
Up next is Daria Kasatkina, who defeated Tamara Zidansek from Slovenia 6-4, 6-3.
Former world No 1 Simona Halep also advanced with a straight-set win as the two-time Grand Slam winner beat Alize Cornet 6-4, 6-4 to set up a second-round clash against seventh seed Danielle Collins.
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