In a stunning display of athleticism and skill, young tennis sensation Coco Gauff secured her spot in the US Open semifinals for the first time with a commanding victory over Jelena Ostapenko on Tuesday, leaving her opponent struggling to keep up after winning 6-0, 6-2.
Gauff, a 19-year-old from Florida, is the first American youngster to make it to the Flushing Meadows last four since Serena Williams lost to Venus Williams in 2001, CBS reported.
“Last year, I lost in the quarterfinal stage, and I wanted to do better this year,” Gauff said. “Still have a long way to go, but I’m happy and I’m ready to get back to work for the next one.”
Gauff made the quarterfinals at Flushing Meadows last year but fell to Caroline Garcia which was the 16th victory in her past 17 matches for Gauff — a first-round exit at Wimbledon in July sure feels like ages ago. Her best Grand Slam showing so far was making it to the final at Roland Garros last year.
Gauff advanced to the quarterfinals in Flushing Meadows last year but lost to Caroline Garcia.
This was Gauff’s 16th win in her previous 17 matches. Her participation in the final at Roland Garros in 2017 was her best Grand Slam performance to date.
Gauff lost the title match to Iga Swiatek, who could have met again in the US Open quarterfinals. However, Swiatek lost to Ostapenko in the fourth round, ending her title defence and relegating her spot at No 1 in the WTA rankings to Aryna Sabalenka.
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Swiatek entered the US Open as a betting favourite, while Gauff’s odds were listed at +750.
Ostapenko is a tough opponent to beat when she’s playing well as she did on Sunday night against Swiatek. She takes risks with almost every shot, which can make her a challenging opponent.
During the match on Tuesday, Ostapenko made 36 unforced errors, while Gauff only made 14.
“I didn’t feel comfortable at all the whole match, even on match point. I know the game she plays. She has the ability to come back, no matter the scoreline,” said Gauff, who lost to Ostapenko at the Australian Open in January, “so I was just really trying to get every point, trying to play every ball.”
Gauff is set to face Karolina Muchova or Sorana Cirstea in the semifinals on Thursday. Additionally, the women’s quarterfinals will feature Sabalenka of Belarus vs. Zheng Qinwen and Marketa Vondrousova vs. Madison Keys.
Tuesday’s men’s quarterfinals were 23-time major champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia vs Taylor Fritz of the US and Frances Tiafoe vs unseeded Ben Shelton in an all-American match at night. It’s the first time since 2005 that three US men were in the final eight in New York, CBS reported.
While talking about her tough match with Ostapenko, Gauff said: “There’s a saying in basketball that defence wins games. In tennis, that’s not always the case, but today it was definitely the case.
“It’s important to have both ends of the court. The defence has always been there, but I’ve been improving my offence, and I think it’s showing and translating well on the court.”
Previously, when then-15-year-old Gauff, defeated Venus Williams at Wimbledon in 2019 and ultimately made it to the semifinals, she said: “Life literally changed in seconds.”