MELBOURNE, Australia, Jan 17 – American 18th seed Coco Gauff was dumped out of the Australian Open first round on Monday in a blaze of unforced errors, losing 6-4, 6-2 to China’s Wang Qiang in a huge upset.
Gauff, the youngest player in the draw at 17, was dominated by the world number 110 in just 73 minutes of action on Margaret Court Arena.
Gauff’s only bright spot in a one-sided second set came as she saved four match points from 5-0 down.
She was comprehensively beaten by Wang for the first time in three meetings between the pair, melting down to make 38 unforced errors.
“You know I lost two times against her last year so I just tried my best to focus on court,” said Wang.
The former Chinese number one, who famously knocked out Serena Williams en route to the fourth round at Melbourne Park two years ago, has dropped outside the top 100 since reaching a career-high singles ranking of 12 in September 2019.
Wang is coached by Australian great Pat Cash, but joked that the 1987 Wimbledon champion has not forced her to wear his trademark chequered headband during matches — not yet anyway.
“Only during practice, yeah,” she laughed. “I just do what he tells me. I think I did really well today, right?”