Coco Gauff has fulfilled the pre-tournament hype by reaching her second Grand Slam final. The nineteen year old has kept her summer form under the tutelage of new coach Brad Gilbert. She’ll play the new world number one and Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka who is playing her second Slam final.
Why Sabalenka will win
The 25 year old from Belarus won a barnburner of a semi against Madison Keys after being down 6-0, 5-3. Lose that match and she would have been 1-7 in slam semis. This is a level of escapism that can propel players forward in a “I should be out of the tournament, what’s there left to lose” mentality. On the power scale Sabalenka wins this matchup, if she can control her frustration and that power she’ll win.
Why Coco will win
She has adopted Gilbert’s “winning ugly” mantra by playing the percentages more during the rally. It’s a winning strategy, but only if Sabalenka sprays some characteristic errors. The forays into the net have also been working well and they’ll work well here if she can get Sabalenka running. If the Coco forehand holds up, she’ll win.
Gauff leads the head-to-head 3-2 which in the heat of a Slam final doesn’t mean much, although her run this tournament has a date with destiny feel about it.
The crowd will be a factor here, combine their energy with the Coco energy and it’s a force for good.
I really hope this goes three sets; I want drama. A third set breaker for a Slam is always great theatre. This has a chance to do just that as 3 of their 5 matches have gone late into the third. Ok, prediction time. Gauff will win. She’s had a great summer, Gilbert will give her the right tactics and she’s now experienced enough to handle the moment.