American great hope Coco Gauff has reached the quarterfinals of the US Open, where the teenager will take on in-form Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia.
Gauff took on China’s Zhang Shuai with a 7-5, 7-5 triumph in just under two hours to set up a clash against Garcia, who continued his red-hot form with a 6-4, 6-smashing victory. 1 over seeded US No. 29. Alison Riske-Amritraj.
Gauff has already reached her first Grand Slam final this year at the French Open and it would be a compelling narrative if she could win her first title at the tournament where Serena Williams retired.
There is still a long way to go, of course, but Gauff has yet to drop a set and showed his competitive maturity in a tough battle with Zhang, winning the last four games and saving a set point.
Zhang vs. Gauff: Match Stats
|56%||First Serve Winning Percentage||62%|
|fifty%||Second Serve Winning Percentage||48%|
|3/9||Break points won||5/11|
|85||Total Points Earned||91|
“It feels crazy,” Gauff said. “I mean, Ashe Stadium singing my name, I was trying not to smile on the bench at the last change, I was trying to stay in the moment. But in my head I was smiling.
“I can’t believe they were singing like that. It’s crazy.”
In a battle between the youngest player remaining in the draw, 18-year-old Gauff, and the oldest, 33-year-old Zhang, it was the Chinese player who showed the sharpest in the early stages, breaking for a 2-point lead. -0. in the first set.
But 12th seed Gauff fought back and fired a stunning backhand winner to claim the first set in front of an electrifying crowd.
Zhang, a restrained human backboard to extend rallies from the baseline, took a 5-3 lead in the second set when he broke Gauff.
But Gauff pulled back to take a 6-5 lead and won the match point with his astonishing speed as he slid from corner to corner to draw Zhang’s error into the net.
The crowd roared in approval as Zhang covered his ears to block out the sound, which was amplified by the closed roof of Arthur Ashe Stadium due to rain.
Gauff sealed the deal with an error from Zhang before the pair exchanged a warm hug over the net.
Next up is Garcia, famously hailed as a future World No.1 by Andy Murray over a decade ago, but has struggled under the weight of expectations and started the season ranked 74th.
She is now 17 after a brilliant summer that included a run to the fourth round of Wimbledon, beating Emma Raducanu along the way, and three titles, most recently at the prestigious WTA event in Cincinnati.
“I don’t feel like the same person I was five years ago,” said the 17th seed, who is riding a 12-fight win streak. “Obviously I learned a lot. I had some tough years there. I got some experience. We’ve been working hard to get back to the top level. I’m really happy to be at this level again. I really enjoy it.”
Happiness appears to have been key to Garcia’s rebirth and he was able to laugh off losing four match points in a long final game on Sunday.
“To get wins, it definitely helps to be happy, to know the way you have to play, to be healthy,” he said.
“I see, and with my team we are seeing so many things that we can still improve, so it gives us a purpose to keep improving, to keep working hard. It is a challenge every day and it is a reward to be here today, and I am grateful for all the hard work we did.
“I like to play aggressive tennis, to get ahead. I have fun, I enjoy playing that way and also I’m glad it’s working and it’s a good way for me.”
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