Cori Gauff has clinched her 5th career's WTA title by winning the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. The American has achieved her biggest career's success, as it is her first ever victory on the level of WTA 1000. Gauff has made the last step on the road to the title by defeating Karolina Muchova in Sunday's final.
Road to the final
Gauff approached the final one day after breaking the curse of 7 consecutive straight-sets losses to Iga Swiatek. The American showed a great overall performance against the world's number one and was very convincing in all her preceeding matches this week, scoring the routine victories over lower ranked opponents. Muchova's road to the final was much more bumpy. The Czech has needed to play one more match over the week, as not being one of the 8 top seeds getting byes in opening round. Muchova has played 4 tough three-setters before Sunday, including yesterday's upset performed over world's number two - Aryna Sabalenka.
Intense fight from both sides
The 7th seed of the tournament in Cincinnati was a pre-match favorite, rated with an odd 1.55. The play has started as expected, as Gauff took the initiative from the start, moving up into break lead twice, but Muchova managed to come back level on serve both times. The American regained her advantage once again in 8th game and grabbed the opening set with a score 6-3 eventually.
Second set was a super intense battle, as the first 8 games have ended up after playing on deuces. The time duration of this set says something, as despite just 10 games played, whole the second set was 73 minutes long. Muchova was the first one to create breakpoints in this tight battle, but Gauff has cleared the danger in 4th game and broke the deadlock in the following game to move up into set and break lead. Muchova lost another service game later on, as Gauff stayed in front of a chance to serve for the title with a double break cushion. Despite being 5-2 *40-15 up and having 3 matchpoints, the American did not secure the victory at this moment, while Muchova made up the gap to be just one break down. Gauff resisted the pressure well in another attempt, as served to love in 10th game, taking her biggest career's title with a score 6-3 6-4.
Cori Gauff has gained one spot in the WTA rankings to move up into 6th place. Not just this week's performance of the youngster is worth to underline. Gauff is the most successful and most consistent player out of all the competitors playing in North American hard courts swing so far. The American has won the WTA 1000 and WTA 500 titles in a time of just 3 weeks despite not succeeding in tournaments of range higher than WTA 250 ever before. Despite this, Gauff has reached out the quarterfinals in Montreal last week as well and heads into US Open with a 11-1 record in August, including 6 wins in 7 matches against the opponents ranked in the world's top 20. The great performance reflects also in the WTA Race, as Gauff moves up into 5th place on the list of points gained in the year 2023.
Karolina Muchova can be really happy despite coming up short in the final. The Czech will celebrate her 27th birthday on Monday, becoming the world's top 10 player for the first time in her career. The run into final in Cincinnati gives a big ranking boost for Muchova, who climbes into 10th spot up from 17th in the official list. WTA Race does also look bright for the Cincy's runner-up, who jumps into 8th place, which virtually guarantees her the spot in the year ending WTA Finals for now. There is a lot to play for in the next 2 months though, as the chasing group is really close there and with one Grand Slam, two WTA 1000s and a few WTA 500s still to be played, everything is possible in this race.