Coco Gauff maintained her unbeaten start to the season with a 7-6 (2), 6-2 victory over fellow American Caroline Dolehide, advancing into the third round of the 2024 Australian Open.
“I think I still look good, and I feel good!” Gauff joked on court after the match. “Shoutout to New Balance for the kit, and I’ll do a little self-promo: you can buy this at the New Balance store outside Rod Laver!”
The reigning US Open champion has now won nine straight matches at Grand Slams, and improved to an unbeaten 7-0 to start the 2024 season after one hour and 44 minutes on Margaret Court Arena
Gauff shook off early nerves in her first round against Anna Karolina Schmiedlova to drop a second-set bagel on her Slovak opponent, and appeared poised to do the same against Dolehide when she raced ahead 3-0 to start their second-round clash on Wednesday.
“I wasn’t nervous today. I was just trying to play good tennis, but if you give her something short, she’s going to punish you. If I could go back, I would have played deeper and heavy like I did in the second set.”
Where Gauff enjoyed a stellar finish to her 2023 season, Dolehide wasn’t far behind, making a WTA 1000 breakthrough in Guadalajara, where she finished runner-up to Maria Sakkari.
The result helped Dolehide earn a berth in her second Australian Open main draw, having fallen in qualifying last year, and won a decisive opening round against Leolia Jeanjean to book her first meeting with Gauff since 2020, which Gauff won in straight sets.
Dolehide soon picked up steam after her slow start, rallying from 1-4 down to find herself serving for the set at 6-5, but a double fault and a forehand error handed the initiative back to Gauff.
Once in the tiebreaker, the No. 4 seed struck back-to-back winners to earn the decisive mini-break of the Sudden Death, converting her second set point with a missed backhand from Dolehide.
“I started off playing well, but she was hitting a lot of big forehands. I’ve played her before and it was a tough match. She does well hitting the ball heavy, so sometimes it’s hard to be on offence.”
After trading service holds through the first four games of the second set, Gauff stepped up with a break to love. Gauff brought the MCA crowd to their feet with a hold from 15-30 down and nabbed an insurance break to put herself a game from victory.
Dolehide made a brave last stand, engineering four break points as Gauff served for the match, but Gauff saved all four—the fourth with a powerful overhead—and outrallied her countrywoman one last time to convert a fourth match point and end a titanic final game.
Up next for Gauff is another American, unseeded Alycia Parks, who knocked out 2021 US Open finalist .