Each week, Baseline will take a look at a player who has thrived at one of the stops on the ATP and WTA tours during their career.
For a professional tennis player whose game is predicated on power, grass is a surface that can be quite rewarding—a fact that CoCo Vandeweghe is surely aware of.
And for the American, the best example of that has been her success at the event in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands. Both of her career singles titles have come at one of the few grass-court events on the WTA Tour, and she’s taken different paths to each tournament triumph.
Back in 2014, ranked No. 69 in the world, Vandeweghe was forced to battle through the qualifying rounds. Once she got into the main draw, her stay was almost short-lived as she had to eke out a third-set tiebreak win over Marina Erakovic to advance. She got through the second round when her compatriot Vania King retired in the third set, but had a much easier time in the quarterfinals and semifinals against the seventh seed Garbine Muguruza and eighth-seeded Klara Koukalova, respectively, to reach her first final in two years. There, she met Jie Zheng and topped her in straight sets to claim the first title of her career.
Vandeweghe’s title defense a year later ended in the quarterfinals at the hand of Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens, but only a few weeks afterward, she made a Grand Slam breakthrough with a first major quarterfinal at Wimbledon.
Having established herself as a member of the Top 50 in 2016, Vandeweghe kicked off her grass-court campaign in the Netherlands, where she entered the tournament as the sixth seed. The American was dominant all week, as she never lost more than four games in a set in her first four matches. In the championship match against Kristina Mladenovic—whom she beat in the last round of qualifying at the event back in 2014—Vandeweghe was tested, but still topped the Frenchwoman in straight sets to win her second career title.
Though her title defense was stopped in the first round in 2017—in the midst of her career-best campaign—she rebounded from that to reach the semifinals a year later. Injury kept her out of the 2019 edition and she won’t get a chance to return this year due to the tour stoppage. But whenever she does get to play in ‘s-Hertogenbosch again, Vandeweghe will be considered a contender for the top prize.