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New coach helps Vandeweghe cash in on draw

Vandeweghe making a backhand return in her win over fellow American Alison Riske in the third round. On current form, she will be confident of her chances against former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki in the last 16 today.
Vandeweghe making a backhand return in her win over fellow American Alison Riske in the third round. On current form, she will be confident of her chances against former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki in the last 16 today.PHOTO: REUTERS
Pat Cash became Coco Vandeweghe's coach in the lead-up to Wimbledon and she has put up a sterling show so far.
Pat Cash became Coco Vandeweghe's coach in the lead-up to Wimbledon and she has put up a sterling show so far.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • The prospect of Pat Cash guiding Coco Vandeweghe to a shock Wimbledon title 30 years after his own success may be moving closer to reality, as the American moved seamlessly into the fourth round on Saturday.

Vandeweghe, who hired Cash as her coach in the lead-up to the tournament after splitting with Craig Kardon, stormed into the last 16 with 6-2, 6-4 win over fellow American Alison Riske.

She faces world No. 6 Caroline Wozniacki in the fourth round today.

In the women's draw in which all 16 survivors will fancy their chances, Vandeweghe's credentials stack up well.

The 24th seed has yet to drop a set in her three opening matches and hits winners for fun - 87 so far.

While her form this year has swung between the extremes of a semi-final run to the Australian Open in January and a first-round exit at the French Open in May, she has some pedigree on grass, having reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon in 2015.

GREAT PARTNERSHIP

Just kind of his energy and aura and just how we've been communicating and working together. I think it's been a really huge positive.

COCO VANDEWEGHE, on hiring Australian Pat Cash as coach.

She has hired Cash hoping he can give her an extra edge, three decades since the headband-wearing Australian lifted the trophy at the All England Club and after her build-up to Wimbledon was marred by a split with Kardon.

The 25-year-old and Cash, 52, present an interesting mix of of personalities.

"He introduced me to a lot of 80s rock bands, which before I wasn't quite familiar with. I keep having to remind him I was born in '91," Vandeweghe, who is ranked 25th in the world, said.

"I have a really good feeling about working with Pat. Just kind of his energy and aura and just how we've been communicating and working together. I think it's been a really huge positive."

Vandeweghe, the niece of two-time NBA All-Star Kiki Vandeweghe, has many of the tools needed to succeed on grass, principally a booming serve that regularly approaches the 195kmh mark.

In her three victories at Wimbledon this year, she has won 88 per cent of points on her first serve. She also has form when it comes to causing an upset as she showed by beating world No. 1 Angelique Kerber at the Australian Open in January.

Cash, who has previously coached the likes of Australians Mark Philippoussis and Nick Kyrgios, sees Vandeweghe as a player with a big enough game to "wipe players off the court".

"I believe she has the potential to win a slam," Cash said.

With the pregnant Serena Williams missing this year's tournament and many of the other top women's players struggling for form or fitness, the draw is opening up.

"I think there is some very solid depth (in the women's game) of players that can make an impact against a top player," she said. "I'm an example of that myself."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 10, 2017, with the headline 'New coach helps Vandeweghe cash in on draw'. Print Edition | Subscribe