The first women’s match of Saturday’s schedule on the Stadium court will be between Coco Gauff and Anastasia Potapova. Gauff will be amongst those who will want to seize their opportunity for a final/title in the absence of defending champion Iga Swiatek, who has thrived in the conditions of the Sunshine Double tournaments. She made the fourth round last year with better hard court runs coming elsewhere.
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The same issues as usual plagued Gauff at Indian Wells, who was found wanting against an in-form Aryna Sabalenka. She won just three games against the Belarussian with the more controlled power causing her nightmares despite this matchup being one that she had previously thrived in – going 3-0 before her 6-3 6-0 loss there. She got back to winning ways in her first match here, defeating Rebecca Marino in straight sets. “She’s not an easy opponent. She makes a lot of big shots, doesn’t really give you a lot of rhythm. You kind of just have to hang in there.” she said.
Potapova will be delighted to divert attention back to on-court exploits after a lot of controversy over the last few weeks. In a frosty matchup with Marta Kostyuk, she held her nerve to win 6-3 6-1 with just one break point faced and saved by her in the match. The Russian has had a solid start to the year with a title in Linz while a tough three set loss to Jessica Pegula did showcase some of the improvements made recently in Indian Wells.
While Gauff’s weaknesses are notable against the top players or aggressive players, she should go untroubled by Potapova who will not have enough power to target them. She has been able to stick around in the Top 10 due to her inconsistency against the lower level of players with few “bad” losses in recent times. The No.6 does also lead the head to head 2-0 although there is likely little to be taken from meetings back in 2019 and 2021 when both players have developed well since then.
Prediction – Coco Gauff in straight sets
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