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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Wednesday January 18, 2022

Clara Tauson

Danish teenager Clara Tauson racked up her biggest career win, defeating sixth-seeded Anett Kontaveit at the Australian Open.

Photo Source: Getty

If 2021 was a harbinger of things to come for talented Danish teenager Clara Tauson (two titles and a predilection for jaw-dropping power tennis), 2022 – at least so far – is the logical next step in the rise of a talented, well-rounded ball-striker extraordinaire.

Tennis Express

On Thursday in Melbourne the tennis world got a glimpse of the type of tennis that the 19-year-old is already capable of producing on the big stage: a clean, mean all-out assault levelled shrewdly on one of the world’s best players.

Tauson’s 6-2, 6-4 toppling of sixth-seeded Anett Kontaveit left those in attendance at Margaret Court Arena gasping but it hardly registered with the World No.39, who seemed intent on bottling up her emotions and acting like she’d been there and done that before (nice work if you can get it).

Tauson, upon completion of her 20 winner and 13 unforced error performance, shot a muted glance at her box before heading to the net to shake hands. The Copenhagen native hasn’t been around the WTA Tour for long, but long enough to know that second-round victories, no matter how satisfying or how big the stage, don’t merit over-the-top celebrations.

But there was excitement in her voice as she took the mic during her post-match interview. Tauson told the crowd that she wasn’t even thinking about winning against Kontaveit, she simply was eager to test her level against one of the world’s best.

Tauson clarified her comments in her post-match press conference.

"Obviously I wanted to win, but she's one of the best players in the world so I don't think I can go in with the attitude I have to win this match," she said. "She's playing unbelievable tennis the past few months and has won probably the most matches and has really done some good stuff. I think I just went in there believing I could win, but it wasn't like I have to win. It was more I can win, but we'll see what happens."

The 6’ daughter of a former professional hockey player gets the highest mark for her stellar performance, which seemed to leave Kontaveit stunned. Tauson penetrated the court with pace and depth and had the perfect competitive mindset throughout the contest. When the situation called for it, the Dane waltzed into the net to pick off volley winners, executing with conviction. The net game helped her win points but it also likely contributed to undermining Kontaveit’s sense of comfort and ultimately led to her unravelling late in the match.

Most impressively, Tauson rallied back from a break down twice in the middle of the second set, producing pulsating return games to keep Kontaveit blanketed in the pressure even when the Estonian had a small lead and a window to get back into the match.

That window was slammed shut abruptly down the stretch.

Tauson soon moved ahead and served out the match with the aplomb of an experienced veteran. She won her last six service points of the match and closed out her first Top-10 win in a surprisingly uncomplicated 79 minutes.

Asked about her goals for 2022, Tauson says she has plenty, but she still thinks of herself as new to the game. Rather than focusing on a specific ranking she is seeking, with her coach Olivier Jeunehomme, to improve elements of her game that will one day make her even more lethal.

"I'm still young I think," she said. "I still need to improve a lot of things in my game to hopefully play on this level every time I play. We don't have any concrete ranking goals. More like what I have to improve. Obviously my serve has to improve even more. Even though it's a weapon now, I think it can be even better. Everything just needs to get improved. I need to be playing better and better even if I'm not feeling so good. Yeah, those are the primary goals right now."

Next up the Dane will take on feisty American Danielle Collins for a spot in the second week, the 27th-seeded American having defeated Croatia’s Ana Konjuh in Day 4. At 19, and heading into uncharted waters against a former semifinalist, Tauson will surely be eager to test her level once again.

She may pass, she may fail – no matter the result she’s already taken a big step towards turning the harbinger into the cold, hard truth.


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