If Coco Gauff keeps playing like this, she’s going to go from teenage prodigy to Grand Slam champion in a hurry.
The 17-year-old American completely overwhelmed Ons Jabeur in a 6-3, 6-1 victory at the French Open on Monday to become the youngest woman to reach the quarterfinals at any Grand Slam tournament since 2006.
Gauff lost only nine points on her serve and was also highly effective at the net, winning 13 of 17 points when she came forward — which was especially impressive against a player who is known for her shot-making skills.
Gauff has not dropped a set in Paris this year. She won both the singles and doubles titles at a warmup tournament in Parma before coming to Paris. That came after a run to the semifinals of the Italian Open.
In all, she’s on a career-best nine-match winning streak.
“Parma gave me a lot of confidence, especially on the clay,” Gauff said. “It taught me a lot about how to close out matches and deal with the pressure on important points.”
Gauff already announced herself as a contender to become the next great American player when she made a run to the fourth round at Wimbledon as a 15-year-old qualifier two years ago. Now, having gone one step further, she became the youngest American to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal since Venus Williams did it at 17 at the 1997 U.S. Open.
French Open: Coco Gauff is hungry for more after reaching her maiden Grand Slam quarter-final
Coco Gauff turned 17 in March and she has already risen to a career-high of No 25 in the world; the American is through to her maiden Grand Slam quarter-final and it’s come at Roland Garros where she won the junior title just after her 14th birthday;
Is she heading for French Open glory? SHE’S ALREADY THERE, A WIN WILL BE THE ULTIMATE ACCOMPLISHMENT!!!!!!!!!!!
Part of being a professional, Gauff already has learned, is turning weaknesses into strengths. She still leads the WTA with 166 double faults, but against Jabeur she didn’t have one.
“That’s obviously been a hurdle in my game,” Gauff said. “I truly feel like I’m, you know, getting over that hurdle. Today, I just served really well first and second serves, played the points pretty smart on my serve.
“The problem was my confidence on the serve, like I would play in practice, make 50 second serves in a row, and then I get to the match and get nervous. Now I don’t feel as nervous when I’m serving.”
Gauff, for the record, has the third-fastest serve in the women’s tournament (119.3 mph).
American teenage sensation Coco Gauff says she is “hungry and wanting more” after reaching the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time in her promising career.
The 17-year-old has been in excellent form on the European clay, winning a title in Parma and rising to a career-high ranking of 25 in the world.
She has form on the dirt too, having won the junior title at Roland Garros three years ago.
Gauff has an arsenal of scintillating shot-making and is self-assured on the court with a reputation for her never-say-die attitude. She’s the real deal.
Gauff is no respecter of reputations. Nor is she lacking in confidence, with the American prodigy continuing to make history on and off the court. She continues to urge people to speak out on the issue of racial injustice as she promises to continue using her platform to fight for change.
The teen star caused a sensation when she made the fourth round at Wimbledon two years ago and repeated the feat at the Australian Open in 2020.
Now she has gone one better and, if her form in a 6-3 6-1 victory over Ons Jabeur is anything to go by, she is a legitimate contender for the title.
“It means a lot to me, especially as I have lost in the fourth round a couple of times, so it feels good to get over that hurdle. Today I played probably my best match so far in the tournament,” said Gauff.
“It definitely does feel different. I just feel like it’s been, I guess professional. I feel like all my matches have been straightforward wins, like no crazy three sets and stuff. As we know, I have had a lot of those in the past.
“I just feel like this has been the most consistent tennis I have played at this level. Hopefully I can keep that going.
“In the past, I felt like I was satisfied with the run I made in the tournament, so maybe I came into the matches I guess not as hungry, and I know it’s probably not a good thing to say but it’s the truth.
“With a lot of young players, I think we tend to get satisfied with, not small results, but certain results before we realise that we can really shoot for more.
“My message has always been ‘dream big and aim higher’. I think that today was honestly coming from that message of aiming higher, because I could have easily said I’m satisfied with fourth round and everything, but today I think I just came in more hungry and wanting more.”
|ITF name||Cori Gauff|
|Country (sports)||United States|
|Born||March 13, 2004
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
|Height||1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)|
|Plays||Right-handed (two-handed backhand)|
|Prize money||US$ 1,337,741|
|Career record||61–33 (64.9%)|
|Highest ranking||No. 25 (May 24, 2021)|
|Current ranking||No. 25 (May 24, 2021)|
|Grand Slam Singles results|
|Australian Open||4R (2020)|
|French Open||QF (2021)|
|US Open||3R (2019)|
|Career record||41–22 (65.1%)|
|Highest ranking||No. 41 (May 24, 2021)|
|Current ranking||No. 41 (May 24, 2021)|
|Grand Slam Doubles results|
|Australian Open||QF (2020, 2021)|
|French Open||3R (2020)|
|US Open||3R (2019)|
|Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results|
|US Open||2R (2018)|
|Last updated on: April 5, 2021.|
Cori “Coco” Gauff (born March 13, 2004) is an American professional tennis player. She is the youngest player ranked in the top 100 by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) and has a career-high ranking of world No. 25 in singles, and No. 42 in doubles. Gauff won her first WTA singles title at the 2019 Linz Open at the age of 15, making her the youngest singles title-holder on the WTA Tour since 2004. She also has won three WTA doubles titles with compatriot and fellow teenager Caty McNally. Gauff rose to prominence with an upset win over Venus Williams in the opening round at Wimbledon in 2019.
Born to athletic parents with NCAA Division I collegiate backgrounds in basketball and track and field, Gauff experimented with a variety of sports as a child. She chose to focus on tennis, having been inspired to play by the Williams sisters and because of her preference to compete in an individual sport. Gauff had quick success as a junior, earning a sponsorship to train at Patrick Mouratoglou‘s academy in France. She began playing on the ITF Junior Circuit at 13 and finished runner-up at the junior 2017 US Open in just her fourth ITF event, making her the youngest finalist in the tournament’s history. She became the No. 1 junior in the world after winning the junior Grand Slam singles title over McNally at the 2018 French Open. She also won a junior Grand Slam doubles title at the 2018 US Open, this time partnering with McNally.
Gauff made her WTA Tour debut in March 2019 at the Miami Open and won her opening match. She received a wild card into the qualifying draw at the 2019 Wimbledon Championships where she became the youngest player in the tournament’s history to qualify for the main draw. She reached the fourth round of the event, and each of her matches was the most-watched of the day in the United States. Gauff would later reach the third round of the 2019 US Open, the fourth round of the 2020 Australian Open and the quarterfinal of the 2021 French Open.
2021: Continued rise in rankings, Top 25 in singles and Top 50 in doubles, First Grand Slam quarterfinal
Starting the year ranked No. 48, Gauff entered the Abu Dhabi Open, a leadup event to the Australian Open. In the first round, she beat Norwegian Ulrikke Eikeri before falling in the next round to Maria Sakkari. At the 2021 Gippsland Trophy, another Australian Open leadup, she beat Jil Teichmann in the round of 64 before falling in the next round to Katie Boulter. In doubles, she and Caty McNally entered the 2021 Yarra Valley Classic where they reached the quarterfinals. In the Australian Open, in singles, Gauff again beat Jill Teichmann in the first round, but fell in the round of 64 to the fifth seeded Elina Svitolina in straight sets. In doubles she and McNally fared better, falling to Demi Schuurs and Nicole Melichar in the quarterfinals. After this major, she fell to No. 52 in singles and 47 in doubles.
At Adelaide she was the top seed in qualifying, beating Francesca Jones and the eighth seeded Kaja Juvan to enter the main draw. In a run to the semifinals, she played all of her matches in three sets, beating qualifier Jasmine Paolini, sixth seeded Petra Martic, and compatriot Shelby Rogers before falling to second seeded Belinda Bencic. In doubles, she partnered with Canadian Sharon Fichman where they bowed out in the first round to Duan Yingying and Zheng Saisai. This run brought her to a then-career-high of 38 in singles.
Following, she entered the Dubai Championships, where she beat Ekaterina Alexandrova, 12th seed Markéta Vondroušová, and qualifier Tereza Martincová before falling to Jil Teichmann in straight sets in the quarterfinals. This brought her to a career high of No. 35 in singles.
In the Miami Open, she played her first WTA 1000 event while seeded, where she was 31st. After receiving a bye, she lost in a tight three-setter to eventual quarterfinalist Anastasija Sevastova in the round of 64. In the doubles event she and partner Caty McNally won easily in the first round before beating the second seeded (and then top Porsche Race ranked) team of Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova in a tight three-setter, 6-7, 6-4, [10-8], to play Gabriela Dabrowski and Giuliana Olmos in the quarterfinals where she lost.
In May, Coco Gauff reached the first semifinal at a WTA 1000 in her career at the Italian Open due to world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty retiring with a right arm injury in their quarterfinal match. As a result, she entered the top 30 for the first time in her career. She then lost to eventual champion Iga Świątek. At the same tournament, she reached the quarterfinals in doubles with Veronika Kudermetova but lost again to eventual champions alternates pair Gabriela Dabrowski/Giuliana Olmos in the quarterfinals.
Also in Italy a week later, Gauff won her second singles and third doubles (with Caty McNally) titles at the 2021 Emilia-Romagna Open in Parma. She became the youngest player to win both the singles and doubles titles at an event since Maria Sharapova won both titles at 2004 Birmingham. Gauff thus rose to new career-high rankings of world No. 25 in singles and No. 41 in doubles.
Gauff also beat Aleksandra Krunić and Wang Qiang, received a walkover when leading 1 set to love against 13th seed Jennifer Brady and beat Ons Jabeur in just 53 minutes to reach her first Grand Slam quarterfinal at the French Open. As a result, she became the youngest woman to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal since the 2006 RG (Nicole Vaidisova), the youngest American to reach a quarterfinal at the RG since 1993 (Jennifer Capriati) and the youngest American to reach a quarterfinal of any Grand Slam since the 1997 US Open (Venus Williams).
In October 2018, Gauff signed her first multi-year sponsorship contract, with New Balance. In March 2019, she announced a multi-year sponsorship agreement with Italian food company Barilla, which also sponsors Roger Federer.
Gauff’s tennis idols are Serena and Venus Williams. “Serena Williams has always been my idol…and Venus,” she has said. “They are the reason why I wanted to pick up a tennis racquet.” Gauff first met Serena when she won the Little Mo national tournament at the age of eight, and later met her again to film a commercial for Delta Air Lines and at the Mouratoglou Academy. After defeating Venus at Wimbledon in 2019, Gauff commended Venus when they shook hands at the net. “I was just telling her thank you for everything she’s done for the sport,” she said. “She’s been an inspiration for many people. I was just really telling her thank you.”
In a 2020 post on “Behind the Racquet,” created by Noah Rubin, Gauff admitted to having experienced depression and stress related to her sporting career. Her parents shared that she was never diagnosed with depression and had not sought any medical attention for any condition related to her psychological wellbeing.