Coco Gauff Joins Elite Group With Seventh WTA Title But Still Leagues Behind Maria Sharapova and Kim Clijsters

Coco Gauff beat Elina Svitolina in the final of the 2024 ASB Classic in Auckland to successfully defend her title. This is her seventh WTA Tour championship victory in singles, the third-most as a teenager after 2000. Despite her achievements, the American trails Maria Sharapova and Kim Clijsters by a sizeable margin.

Maria Sharapova thinks Coco Gauff not winning a Grand Slam early is good

Carrying forward momentum from a watershed 2023 season, Gauff steamrolled her way to the WTA 250 title in New Zealand. She did not drop a single set en route to the final, dealing three breadsticks and a bagel. Svitolina won the opener in the summit clash, but the first seed bounced back to grab the next two and win the ASB Classic two years in a row.

This was Gauff’s seventh WTA singles title so far. Still only 19, she joined Sharapova and Clijsters on the podium for most WTA singles trophies this century before turning 20. The Belgian icon won 12 tournaments as a teenager after 2000. Sharapova, meanwhile, lifted an astounding 15 tour titles in singles under the same specifications.

Gauff comes third behind the legendary duo with her seven WTA titles in singles. However, Clijsters won her first Grand Slam only at 22. Gauff already has one Majors title in the bag, securing the US Open last year. Sharapova, though, had won two before turning 20. She won the 2004 Wimbledon aged only 17, following it up with the 2006 US Open. The Russian, however, said that Gauff not winning a Majors early in her career would be a good thing for her.

While Gauff has a significantly better record in doubles than both stalwarts, they had one major silverware in their cabinet which the World No.3 lacks. Sharapova and Clijsters had both won the WTA Finals as teens. The latter won it aged 19 in 2002, whereas the former won in 2004 at only 17. Gauff’s semi-final finish in 2023 remains her best result.

Coco Gauff first made headlines when she reached the fourth round of the 2019 Wimbledon as a 15-year-old. In October of the same year, after making it to the third round in the US Open, she lifted her first tour title. She won the Linz Open, part of the now-defunct WTA International circuit, which has since been rechristened as a WTA 250 tournament.

Gauff had to wait two years for her next trophy, winning the Emilia-Romagna Open in May 2021. A dry spell in singles ensued as she found more success in doubles. However, a breakthrough 2023 season with incredible feats followed soon. She opened the year with her third WTA title, winning the 2023 ASB Classic. After a rough patch, she rejigged her coaching team. First, Pere Riba joined her staff, with Brad Gilbert coming on board soon after.

Getting the two coaches on her team worked wonders for Gauff. She won her fourth title, her first WTA 500, right away at the Washington Open. She soon stepped up, lifting her first WTA 1000, the Cincinnati Open. The American got her hands on the ultimate prize after these successes, lifting the 2023 US Open. She achieved a career-best World No.3 rank. She will be keen to prove her wonderful 2023 campaign was no flash in the pan and that she is a genuine challenger for the big titles.

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