Karolina Pliskova Battles Past Coco Gauff in a Thriller Three-Setter at Mutua Madrid Open 2021

Published 04/30/2021, 12:08 PM EDT
Tennis – Yarra Valley Classic – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 1, 2021 Cori Gauff of the U.S. during her match against Switzerland’s Jil Teichmann REUTERS/Loren Elliott


American teenage sensation, Coco Gauff, slumped to a three-set defeat to former World No.1 Karolina Pliskova. This was the first meeting between the two and Pliskova ended her three-match losing streak against Americans.

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A strong set of intent from Coco Gauff

The two players started off badly on their serve. After the first three games, Gauff led 2-1 after three consecutive games without the server winning the game.

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During the same period, both the players played a combined 6 double faults. However, the American seemed to have adjusted to the Madrid surface quicker than Pliskova as she held her serve to lead 3-1.

Coco Gauff attempts a backhand. Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Pliskova‘s woes continued as her decent serve was no match for Gauff’s returns. Overall, as the match went forward, Gauff commanded from the baseline and it looked like a sweep away for her.

But Pliskova hung on to her serve to stay in the set 3-2. Seeing her opponent struggle, Gauff was serving faster in excess of 190 KMPH. So, Pliskova found herself in a point of bother at 5-3.

At 5-3, Pliskova tried her best to keep Gauff at bay. But Gauff was sharp and avoided mistakes to see her first set point. Pliskova saved it and asked Gauff to serve out the set.

The teenager couldn’t hold on to her nerves and missed another set point. Pliskova came back to level the first set 5-5. But Pliskova’s indecisiveness gave Gauff another chance. And Gauff was third-time fortunate as she converted her third set point to win the opening set, 7-5.

Karolina Pliskova makes a fantastic comeback

Pliskova was again faced with the challenge to save her serve in the first game of the second set. But, Gauff again had troubles converting those break points, and Pliskova held to lead for the first time in the match.

An obvious drop in energy was coming from the teenager, and she faced a break point. She saved them to level the second set. This time, Pliskova finished her serve to lead 2-1.

At 2-2, Gauff went for another jab at Pliskova. But yet again, Pliskova saved the break points and took the lead of the second set. Such failures dented Gauff’s second set hopes as she gave a break away and Pliskova lead 4-2. The Czech player quickly served for the set and won it to keep her Madrid Open hopes alive.

Coco Gauff implodes to hand Karolina Pliskova the victory

Karolina Pliskova celebrates after winning her second round match against Danielle Collins of the U.S. REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake

The match had reversed and Gauff’s serve was out of her control. The teenager lost her momentum and Pliskova was on top. Gauff won just two of the first ten points as Pliskova took a 2-0 lead. She was imploding as she gifted Pliskova an extension to her lead.

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Gauff survived getting bageled after a tough hold to cut Pliskova’s lead 4-1. Gauff looked like making an unlikely comeback as she broke Pliskova to shorten the deficit, 4-2. But her comeback was thwarted as Pliskova broke her again to serve for the match. Pliskova completed a dominant final set to defeat Gauff – 5-7, 6-3, 6-2.

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Bhavishya Mittal

951 articles

Bhavishya Mittal is a tennis author for EssentiallySports, who is currently pursuing his Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Manipal University. A former sports editor for The Manipal Journal, Bhavishya has also worked for The New Indian Express. He has a keen eye for many sports but he is a particularly ardent follower of tennis, with a zest to create riveting articles on the ever-evolving sport.

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