Coco Gauff's straight-sets defeat against Daria Kasatkina in the WTA Finals on Thursday has put her out of semifinal contention. The American had earlier lost her opening match against Caroline Garcia, also in straight sets.
Analyzing the loss in an interview with The Tennis Channel, former World No. 1 Tracy Austin said the teenager's forehand disappeared midway through the match. She pointed out that the same led to the "disintegration" of her confidence and adversely affected the rest of her game.
Daria Kasatkina ousts Coco Gauff from WTA Finals, will face Garcia for spot in the semifinals
"I think it's the forehand and I think that leads to the disintegration of her confidence that bleeds into the serve as well," Austin said. "You know, Coco went up 4-1, she was striking the ball beautifully on the forehand, I thought, okay, it's gonna be a great night."
"The contact point was very similar all the time and even Kasatkina was playing a lot to the backhand side, which was very surprising," she continued. "Then you could see the shift where Coco started hitting a few off the frame, a few too far out in front, a few to far back and then the coach Carlos, he said to start to play the forehand more."
Further dissecting Gauff's forehand, Austin said the youngster lacked confidence in the wing — because of which, she often rushes to the net and mixes in drop shots. She went on to add that watching Gauff forehands miss by big margins is often "hard to watch."
"I think that's why Coco goes to the net so much because she doesn't want to hit a forehand," Austin said. "She started hitting more drop shots as well and doesn't feel like she can rally consistently on that side.
"It's hard to watch because they go way far out. They go halfway up the net, very difficult situation for her, she started crying."