WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (JULY 30, 2019) – The Winston-Salem Open will host a Women’s exhibition match on Wednesday, August 21 between No. 1 ranked Ashleigh Barty and 15-year-old Wimbledon sensation Cori “Coco” Gauff. The match will take place at 7 p.m. on Stadium Court prior to the men’s round three singles and doubles quarterfinals, which will begin afterwards. The exhibition match format will be two no-ad sets with a third set match tiebreaker.
This matchup could easily be a headliner at the upcoming US Open, and Winston-Salem Open tournament director Bill Oakes is excited to bring it to the Piedmont Triad. In addition to the exhibition match Wednesday, it is anticipated fans will be able to watch Barty and Gauff spend considerable time on the Wake Forest Tennis Complex practice courts in their preparation for the US Open.
"We have two of the biggest names in women’s professional tennis, and two of the most popular players in women’s professional tennis,” Oakes said. “We think this exhibition will be a big hit with our fans.” Barty, a 23-year-old Australian, is one of the most popular players on the WTA Tour. She vaulted into the No. 1 ranking after winning the title at Roland Garros and then reached the fourth round at Wimbledon. She owns six career WTA singles titles and 10 more doubles crowns and has won three singles titles this year including Miami and Birmingham.
“Having the No. 1 player in the world looking forward to coming to Winston-Salem to play, practice and get ready for the US Open is such a treat for us,” Oakes said. “Her team is familiar with Winston-Salem because of their experience with the men’s event. They believed our courts and facilities, good restaurants and golf courses made Winston Salem the perfect place for Ash to prepare for the US Open. It was a very easy and pleasant conversation with Ashleigh’s team.”
Gauff, a 15-year-old from Delray Beach, Fla., who goes by the nickname Coco, made her big splash at Wimbledon. She received a wild card into qualifying and breezed through qualifying without losing a set. Then she routed Venus Williams in the first round and won two more matches in advancing to the second week. She’s formerly the No. 1 junior in the world and won the 2018 French Open Junior Girls title. She is limited because of her age as to the number of WTA events she can play in, but those rules don’t apply to exhibitions like this one.
“Gauff appears to be the next great charismatic tennis player,” Oakes said. “For us to have her at this stage of her career, to come to Winston-Salem and get ready for the Open, we’re really excited. We’re in a good place to help her get prepared. When I talked to her agent about the opportunity, I was excited because we know that getting prepared for the year’s final major on the women’s side is very difficult. But they see what we offer is a great place to rest and prepare.”
“We are still working to see if there’s an opportunity to host a combined men’s and women’s tournament week in Winston-Salem in the future,” Oakes said. “Winston-Salem is a great destination for the players as they prepare for the year’s final major at the US Open. I think our fans would enjoy having a WTA tournament in Winston-Salem.”