Coco Gauff
Coco Gauff is in fine form heading into the first Grand Slam of 2024 after a second successive win at the ASB Classic. Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

Coco Gauff recovered from a set down against Elina Svitolina in Auckland to secure back-to-back ASB Classic wins on Sunday.

The 19-year-old American star had not dropped a single set going into the final, but she found herself in unfamiliar territory on Sunday as her Ukrainian opponent took the first set on a tiebreak, winning 7-6 (7-4). This came after Gauff had two opportunities to close out the first set but failed to convert on both occasions.

However, the reigning US Open Women's Singles Champion stepped up her performance levels as she responded with three breaks in the second set and firmly put Svitolina on the backfoot. Gauff closed out the second set 6-3 to tie the match and remain in the contest.

The deciding set was more evenly balanced as both players began it by holding their serves and refusing to let their opponent put an early dent in their chances of winning. Gauff eventually found the breakthrough in the eighth game of the set as she broke Svitolina, before successfully serving out the set 6-3 and winning the tournament.

After her victory, Gauff expressed pride at winning another ASB Classic title. The world number four stated: "This was my first time ever having to defend a title so I'm really happy I was able to do that today."

Gauff also credited Svitolina for her display as the Ukrainian star returned to tennis only last April after taking maternity leave. She said: "I'd like to congratulate Elina and your team on an incredible week. What you do, being a mum, coming back so fast and at such a high level is inspiring."

This victory puts Gauff in good shape for the upcoming Australian Open, the year's inaugural Grand Slam, which begins on January 14th in Melbourne. The US sensation's win at the ASB Classic means she has won 29 out of her previous 33 singles matches.

Despite already being a Grand Slam winner and recognised as one of tennis' top stars, Gauff has struggled in her four appearances at the Australian Open as she has never been past the fourth round. Therefore, she will be hoping this current level of form helps propel her into the latter stages of this year's competition.

Gauff was not the only player to secure a tournament victory over the weekend, as world number three, Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, stormed to an impressive straight-sets victory over an in-form Aryna Sabalenka in the Brisbane International.

In a match between two of the current best female tennis stars, Rybakina wasted no time in getting out in front as she broke her Russian opponent three times and swiftly took the first set 6-0.

The Kazakh began the second set with another break before Sabalenka broke back and attempted to force her way back into the contest. However, Rybakina refused to let her opponent cause any more damage and went on to win the second and deciding set 6-3.

The men's final in Brisbane saw Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov triumph in straight sets against the top seed, Holger Rune. The first set was a close affair as it went to a tiebreak after neither player was broken but Dimitrov was able to eventually close it out 7-6 (7-5).

The second set began with both players holding their serves before Dimitrov found the first break of the match in the seventh game of the set. The Bulgarian maintained his composure to clinch the set 6-4 and collect his first singles title since his ATP Finals success in 2017.

Elsewhere, Russia's Andrey Rublev won the Hong Kong Open as he defeated Finland's Emil Ruusuvuori 6-4 6-4 in the final on Sunday.

The draw for the year's opening Grand Slam will take place on January 11th, three days before the tournament in Melbourne starts. One player who will not be competing at the 2024 Australian Open is Rafael Nadal, as the Spanish superstar picked up a recent hip injury during a quarter-final loss to Jordan Thompson at the Brisbane International.