Will Auckland Become @CocoGauff Land? 2020 @WTA @ASB_Classic Auckland Preview, Predictions
Steve Fogleman, Tennis Atlantic
Or will it be like old times again with Serena and Wozniacki meeting in the final?
The 2020 Coco Gauff tour is almost underway. The ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand is stacked with the aforementioned former grand slam champions and a dose of the youth movement. Not too shabby for a WTA International level event.
Gauff, who is amazingly still 15 years old, looks to play her first pro match down under. It’s hard to believe that she made her pro debut just last year in Miami before shocking the world with stellar play at Wimbledon and the US Open. Down Under has been patiently waiting for a chance to join her carnival of tennis enthusiasm. Gauff will have a tough opening round match against 21-year-old Slovakian Viktoria Kuzmova, where she’s a favored -149, and assuming Gauff prevails, she’ll likely face Serena Williams in Round 2.
Or will she? Outside of the American teen sensation, all the buzz is about the first-round match between grand slam champs with a lot of mutual history. Serena Williams and Sveta Kuznetsova have met 13 times, and although Serena holds a 10-3 edge on the 2004 US Open champ, anyone who follows women’s tennis knows that Kuznetsova can beat anyone when she’s in form. With Serena at -400 in the match, this could be a nice upset pick.
Amanda Anisimova’s quarter co-stars Caroline Garcia, who should meet in the quarterfinals with Anisimova advancing to a semifinal against Serena Williams. Garcia’s game hasn’t inspired a lot of confidence lately, and she’s even money against Taylor Townsend in the opening round. I’m going to stand by Garcia, though, as she’d only need to beat the winner of Flipkens-Bouchard to reach the quarters.
Julia Goerges is the 4 seed and her quarter is shared by 5th seeded Caroline Wozniacki. It’s highly likely that they’ll meet in the quarterfinals here, a rematch of last year’s Auckland final. I expect Wozniacki to fight right up through her supposed final grand slam in Melbourne Park to go out with a bang and I’d take her to advance to a semifinal and to contest Serena Williams in the final.
Petra Martic doesn’t get any respect as a top 20 player, as least not from me yet. I’ve been watching her fail to qualify or get knocked out of the first round of too many tournaments to mention. And her quarter is full of spoilers, like Alize Cornet, Bec Peterson, Alison Van Uytvanck and American Cici Bellis. I see Bellis surprising Martic in the quarterfinals before falling to Wozniacki in the semis. That said, the oddsmakers have installed Martic as a -149 favorite in her opener against Van Uytvanck. You’d expect a little more confidence in a 2 seed.
The fans in Auckland should get a two-fer, as they’ll see a Serena Williams-Coco Gauff battle, but they should also be so fortunate as to be gifted a blast from the past final, with Serena Williams besting Caroline Wozniacki to win her first tour title of any kind since the memorable 2017 Australian Open.