Quite a few things contributed to Gauff having to play Alexandrova in her first match since winning the US Open. As one of the top seeds, Gauff was supposed to have a first-round bye, but because of the performance byes, she won't.
She'll play in the first round, and it's a very tricky player who is in form right now. It's unfortunate for the American, but she had plenty of time off and is ready to return to tennis in Beijing.
We have seen them battle twice so far on the WTA Tour, and both players have one win. The first match they played was in 2021, and it was a win for Gauff, though, in three sets. The second one happened on grass earlier this year, and it was a thrashing as Alexandrova won 6-3, 6-0.
That type of danger lurks in this matchup because Alexandrova can be very tough on her day. She's an attacking player with tremendous ball-striking ability, and that's the type of player Beijing rewards, so buckle up.
None of that really matters because Gauff might just be the best player in the world right now. A few players came close to beating her in New York but she was playing her best most matches weren't that close, even the final.
It comes from her tremendous skills and newfound confidence, which is the key to the sudden rise. She was always as quick as she is now, but the ability to step into the court and actually finish off the rally so confidently is new.
She'll be rewarded for that in Beijing, though her defensive prowess is crucial for this matchup. Alexandrova is good but prone to mistakes.
Prediction: Coco Gauff to win in two sets.