Cori Gauff vs Qiang Wang
WTA Parma 2021 May, 22nd 2021.
Closing odds - money line
C. Gauff vs Q. Wang Prediction (from BetzCenter's Experts)
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Gauff in First Main Tour Clay Court Final
Coco Gauff has made it to the final of the Emilia Romagna Open Final in Parma. The American takes on Qiang Wang in only her second WTA Main Tour final and her first on clay. The previous final was in Linz in October 2019 and she'll be out to maintain her 100% record in finals.
Gauff is the third seed for this clay court tournament, three places above her Chinese opponent. Her run to the final in Parma comes a week after making it to the last four in the Rome Masters. It's taken her to 26th in the live rankings and she can go a place higher if winning this final. In terms of points earned this year, the 17-year-old is up to 12th and can go to 11th if becoming the first ever Emilia Romagna Open champion.
Her semi-final wasn't the easiest of matches. Gauff took on unseeded Katerina Siniakova, who had beaten Serena Williams earlier this week. The third seed won the first set 7-5 but then could only win one game in the second. Gauff fought back to win the deciding set 6-2 to reach the final.
Earlier in the week, Gauff had beaten Kaia Kanepi, Camila Giorgi and fifth seeded Amanda Anisimova. Not surprising, considering the short time the American has spent on the main tour, this will be her first match against Wang.
Three Year Wait Finally Over
This run to the final of the Emila Romagna Open is a welcome one for Wang. 2018 was her golden year when in three months in a row, she reached three WTA Main Tour finals. Two were lost but the one in September was won. That remains her last title and since 2018, no finals had been reached until this one in Parma.
All of which has seen her slide down the world rankings. At one stage three years ago, Wang was the world number 12. However, a few weeks ago she'd slipped down to 50th. Before this week, Wang had failed to beat a player in the world's top 100 and had won four out of 15 matches. That number has doubled in Parma.
Doing this well on clay has been a surprise. Before playing this tournament, her win percentage on this surface was only 41%. Both of her previous events on clay in Madrid and Rome had seen her fail to win her first match. Wang wasn't that convincing in her first two matches in Parma. She struggled to get past Misaki Doi in three sets and then dropped eight games in two sets against world number 218 Martina Di Guiseppe.
Better form was shown when beating second seeded Petra Martic in three sets. That set up a semi-final against former French Open finalist Sloane Stephens. Only four WTA Main Tour finals on clay have been contested by two Americans this century. Wang made sure that number five didn't happen with her semi-final victory. The first set was won 6-2 but Wang went 5-1 down in the second. She battled back though and eventually took that set and the match on a tie-break.
Wang turned pro in 2006, Gauff was only a couple of years old at the time. This is a fascinating match but Gauff looks to be in the slightly better form and can win the title. A long match is likely, many Gauff matches are. A three-setter and a tie-break are both possibilities.