2021 Viking Classic

Gauff set to hit the headlines in Birmingham

Cori “Coco” Gauff, the US teenage sensation, will warm-up for another shot at Wimbledon by competing in the grass court tournament at Birmingham (12-20 June).

The Florida-based ace, world-ranked no.30, is among the favourites to claim the Viking Classic crown at the Edgbaston Priory Club this year as she has recently hit a rich vein of form.

Gauff, who shot to fame by stunning the legendary Venus Williams in the opening round at the 2019 Wimbledon Championships has since been following up that success on the WTA Tour.

After claiming her first WTA title aged just 15, she captured only her second WTA crown with a spectacular clay court final success over China’s Wang Qiang at the Emilia-Romagna Open in Parma, Italy on 22 May. The victory was her 20th in 26 matches on the Tour.

The 17-year-old is the youngest player ranked in the top 100 by the WTA, but to score a win at Birmingham seems extremely viable with just four players in the world’s top 30 set to compete.

Belgium’s Elise Mertens (world no.15) is likely to be the top seed ahead of Australian-born Brit Johanna Konta (no.20) and Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur (no.25).

Mertens, who bowed out in the 4th Round at the 2019 Championships, has won six WTA singles titles, although yet to impress on grass.

Eastbourne-based 30-year-old ace Konta is coached by Swede Thomas Högstedt, who used to train such illustrious former world no.1 stars as Romania’s Simona Halep, Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki and Russia’s Maria Sharapova.

The British no.1 sensationally reached the 2017 Wimbledon semi-finals, but her form slumped the following season before she returned to her best before the COVID-19 crisis put an end to the Tour. However, she has not been setting the Tour alight this year.

Konta and fellow Brit Heather Watson are on the entry list for the WTA 250 level tournament at the Nottingham Tennis Centre, which takes place the previous week as the grass court season builds up to the Championships.

But Konta will no doubt be hoping to avoid Jabeur, who stunned her in the 1st Round at the 2020 Australian Open.

PLAYERNATIONRANKING
Elise MertensBEL15
Johanna KontaGBR20
Ons JabeurTUN25
Cori GauffUSA30
Anett KontaveitEST31
Yulia PutintsevaKAZ35
Donna VekićCRO36
Daria KasatkinaRUS37
Svetlana KuznetsovaRUS39
Jelena OstapenkoLAT41
Shuai ZhangCHN43
Paula BadosaESP44
Anastasija SevastovaLAT46
Magda LinettePOL47
Qiang WangCHN48
Fiona FerroFRA49
Marie BouzkovaCZE52
Elena VesninaRUS52 SR
Caroline GarciaFRA53
Jil TeichmannSUI54
Saisaj ZhengCHN57
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