Coco Gauff Holds On, Jessica Pegula Comes Up Short

Coco Gauff Powers Through First Match Of 2024 Campaign

Nearing the end of her successful teenage years, Coco Gauff achieved another milestone. But the eloquent American had to pull off an almighty comeback at the 2024 BNP Paribas Open to do it.


Gauff overcame wobbles on serve — not to mention deficits of a set and break and 4-0 in the third — before defeating Clara Burel of France, 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4) amidst a packed Stadium 1. Gauff pointed to her head after outlasting Burel in a lung-busting rally to officially progress to the third round, where she’ll face Lucia Bronzetti.

Rallying in matches is nothing new for the gritty 2023 US Open champion, who became the first teenager in the last 15 years to collect 50 wins at WTA 1000 events with her victory against Burel. Such classification of tournaments are the second highest after Grand Slams. 

“That’s pretty cool,” Gauff, who turns 20 on March 13, said on-court after her match. “I feel like I have a lot of stats and stuff like that. Hopefully I can close this chapter of my life off good. I’m really happy how my teenage years went.”

With the aforementioned stats so often in her favor, the numbers weren’t kind to Gauff early against a French opponent that often changed pace. In the opening set against the rising World No. 47 — who collected her first Top 10 win against Jessica Pegula this season at the Australian Open — Gauff hit six double faults and committed 14 unforced errors, combined with three winners.

But she clawed her way back and after breaking for 4-5 in the third, produced six straight first serves to hold for 5-5. She set the tone in the tiebreak with a volley winner, then backhand winner.

“Happy with the mental fight,” Gauff said. “It wasn’t my best tennis, but it’s not about how you show up on your good days. It’s about how you show up on your bad ones, and I’m happy with how I showed up today.”

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