WTA: Gauff Steals Victory From Rogers

Adelaide International, Australia

[52] Coco Gauff (USA) def. [53] Shelby Rogers (USA) 2-6, 6-4, 6-4. Sixteen-year-old Coco Gauff gave the credit to her “mental toughness”.  Yes, you are seeing correctly and she’s right.  Rogers cracked mentally when she had the lead, not once, but twice.

Rogers Almost Tasted Victory, Twice

They traded breaks in all three sets; however, in the first set, Rogers controlled the nerves long enough to win the set.  However, Gauff was not playing at her best.  Was it a matter of Gauff playing poorly rather than Rogers playing that well?  In fairness, Rogers played well except when she had her meltdowns.

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Lost Second Set 4-2 Lead

Rogers just had to hold her serve twice and she could have claimed one of the semifinal spots.  One of the places where the appearance of nerves is obvious is usually your serve.  As a player, you know the serve is yours to control.  But if you cannot control the nerves, it’s highly likely that you will lose control of your serve and that’s exactly what happened to Rogers.  Gauff competed well, using her athletic ability to keep Rogers rattled.

Lost Third Set 4-3 Lead

Surely, she would recover.  Yet, as a player for over thirty years I know when the nerves set in, it is extremely difficult to regain your cool.  The advantage Rogers had was that there was no one watching. Thus, thoughts that people may be judging and snickering behind their hands should not have distracted her. 

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Mental Fatigue Or Something More?

When a player falls apart at the almost the same place, you have to recognize the pattern.  I have not followed her long enough to see if this is a regular pattern.  Still, her team must be disturbed by these troubling signs.  I remember the Jana Novotna meltdown that haunted her for years.  I hope this will not be the case for Rogers because she has been playing really well since her comeback from surgery.

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