Coco Gauff is first teen to win Ohio tennis tournament in 50 years

Delray Beach resident takes Western & Southern Open for fifth career title
Coco Gauff celebrates match point against Karolina Muchova, of the Czech Republic, during the women's singles final of the Western & Southern Open tennis tournament on Sunday in Mason, Ohio.
Posted at 8:31 PM, Aug 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-20 23:46:12-04

MASON, Ohio — Seventh-seeded Coco Gauff of Delray Beach became the first teenager in more than 50 years to win the Western & Southern Open with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Karolina Muchova on Sunday.

In women's doubles, two players with South Florida ties won the title just after midnight Sunday. Alycia Parks, 22, of Port St. Lucie, and 27-year-old Taylor Townsend, of Smyrna, Ga., who trained at the Evert Academy in Boca Raton when she was a teenager, edged No. 3 seeds Nicole Melichar-Martinez and Ellen Perez 6-7(1), 6-4, (10-6) to win after midnight Sunday.

Gauff, the 2022 French Open runner-up, earned her first Masters 1000 title when Muchova sailed a forehand return wide on Gauff’s fourth match point. The 19-year-old American tossed her racket in the air and jumped up and down in glee after surviving a 1-hour, 56-minute match played in temperatures approaching 90 degrees.

"This is unbelievable," Gauff said during the post-match trophy presentation. "I’m just happy to be here for this moment.

"I want to congratulate Karolina for an incredible run in this tournament," she added. "Hopefully, we’ll play more often, and on a bigger stage than this."

Gauff was the tournament’s fourth teenage finalist and first since Vera Zvonareva in 2004. She is the first teenage champion since 17-year-old Linda Tuero in 1968.

She has won five career titles, including three this season: Auckland, New Zealand, in January and Washington, D.C. two weeks ago.

Gauff is the first teenager to win five career titles since Caroline Wozniacki in 2009.

After a spotty first set that featured a combined five service breaks, including Gauff’s double fault on one game point, Gauff gained command over her Czech Republic opponent with a break in the eighth game.

She fought off two break points in the fourth game of the second set and took control with a break in the next game when Muchova sent a backhand wide. While winning the next game, Gauff caught a break with a winner off the net that left her with her left palm on her racket and looking up at the sky as if she was praying in gratitude.

She missed on three match points in the eighth game before closing it out.

"When I woke up this morning, the first thing I said was 'Ouch,' " the 26-year-old Muchova said. “I knew it was going to be a tough task to win, especially against someone like Coco.”

The French Open runner-up will celebrate her birthday Monday by moving to No. 10 on the WTA rankings.

In the doubles, the unseeded all-Americans of Parks and Townsend paired up for the first time this week.

They earned the come-from-behind victory in 1 hour and 35 minutes.

"I’m really the most proud of the way that we problem-solved and the way that we controlled our energy, and just really put everything into the match," Townsend, who moved to Boca Raton when she was 14, said in a release by WTA. "I think we both left it all out there."

It is the second career WTA doubles title for Parks and the third for Townsend.

The champions beat four of the top 5-seeded teams consecutively to take the crown.