By the end of Sunday evening in Los Angeles, one film will join exclusive company when the reveal of this year’s Best Picture closes out the Academy Awards. If going by the movies tennis players have seen, Top Gun: Maverick is the preemptive favorite to take home the coveted statue.
In a Tennis Channel poll taken at the BNP Paribas Open with a dozen of the sport’s biggest stars, the Tom Cruise-led sequel to its 1986 predecessor was the clear choice. It completed a dominant week for the Gauff, who didn’t drop a set at the tournament and cast aside Masarova tsnare a third WTA title. Gauff said her form this week was a major boost before crossing the Tasman Sea It was comforting that she had emerged better for an exhausting off-season in which she was challenged by coach Moyano She showcased a cool mental approach, unflustered by the stormy weather that afflicted the Auckland WTA250 event throughout the week Top seed Coco Gauff says clinching the Auckland Classic title on Sunday will inject her with “a lot of confidence” ahead of the Australian Open.
The American teenager breezed to victory in the final, negotiating two lengthy stoppages while outclassing Spanish qualifier Rebeka Masarova 6-1, 6-1. It completed a dominant week for the world number seven, who didn’t drop a set at the tournament and effortlessly cast aside her 130th-ranked opponent to snare a third WTA title and her first for nearly two years. Displaying the sort of form that took her to the final of the French Open seven months ago, Gauff’s methodical groundstrokes look set to be a potent weapon at the year’s first Grand Slam starting in Melbourne in just over a week. The 18-year-old said her form this week was a major boost before crossing the Tasman Sea. It was also comforting that she had emerged better for an exhausting off-season in which she was challenged by coach Diego Moyano. “This gives me a lot of confidence, honestly. You never know how your first week is going to go — could be good or terrible.
But I think it’s been a great week,” she said. “Despite the rain, I couldn’t have asked for a better start to my season. “In the off-season, I play with a bunch of guys and I was winning some but losing most of it, so when I played here it felt good to get some wins under the belt. “It’s a credit to the good off-season that I’ve had. Thanks to my coach, clearly he knows what he’s doing.” Gauff also showcased a cool mental approach, unflustered by the stormy weather that afflicted the Auckland WTA250 event throughout the week. Two of her five matches were forced indoors while two others were disrupted by rain, including the final, which began nearly two hours late. Gauff was serving at a set point in the first set when another downpour forced the players off for more than two hours. The marathon match appeared to be draining for 23-year-old Masarova, who was playing her seventh match in eight days, including qualifying. Masarova conceded fatigue had been a factor and she was “disappointed” in her performance in a maiden WTA final appearance.
However, she was full of praise for Gauff. “Obviously, Coco is playing amazing and didn’t really give me a chance,” the former French Open junior champion said. “The few chances I had, she played unbelievably, congratulations to her. “It was a long week, also, with the waiting, stopping and starting again. I think I warmed up, like, 25 times in total.”