06 Sep Coco Gauff beats Serena Williams’ 20-year record as first US teen to enter US Open semi-finals
Coco Gauff, a rising tennis star, defeated Jelena Ostapenko 6-0, 6-2 on Tuesday in a decisive match that featured a dazzling display of athleticism and talent from the 19-year-old, who qualified for the US Open semifinals for the first time in 20 years.
According to CBS, Gauff, a 19-year-old from Florida, became the first American teenager to advance to the final four at Flushing Meadows since Serena Williams was defeated by Venus Williams in 2001.
“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.”
Last year, Gauff achieved a spot in the quarterfinals at Flushing Meadows, but unfortunately lost to Caroline Garcia, marking her 16th consecutive victory against Gauff, who had previously suffered a first-round exit at Wimbledon in July.
Despite this setback, Gauff’s performance at the 2020 Roland Garros tournament, where she made it to the final, remains her best Grand Slam showing to date.
Iga Swiatek defeated Gauff in the title match, and the two could have faced off again in the US Open quarterfinals. Swiatek’s championship defence was put to a stop when she fell to Ostapenko in the fourth round, giving Aryna Sabalenka the top spot in the WTA rankings.
Swiatek was the betting favourite going into the US Open, while Gauff’s odds were +750.
Ostapenko proved to be a tough opponent for Gauff to beat while playing well as she did on Sunday night against Swiatek. She takes risks with almost every shot, which can make her a challenging opponent.
However, 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.”