American teenage sensation Coco Gauff

By: Lamin Drammeh 

American teenage sensation Coco Gauff, who turned 18 in March has reached her first ever career Grand Slam singles final. 

Gauff, who celebrated her high school graduation in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris a fortnight ago, and had received a congratulatory message from former US First Lady Michelle Obama, defeated Unseeded Martina Trevisan of Italy in straight sets 6-3, 6-1. Gauff is the only player in the women’s draw who has not dropped a set en route to the final – a remarkable feat for the 18-year-old superstar. 

Gauff is now the youngest finalist at the clay-court major tournament in 21 years. The two-time WTA singles title winner who won her first career title at the age of 15, has now become the youngest American – man or woman to reach a Grand Slam final since Serena William’s magical run to the US Open title in 1999.

She will now face world No.1 Iga Swiatek in Saturday’s championship final on Court Philippe-Chatrier. The Polish is on a 34-match winning streak and could face her biggest challenger in the young American Gauff, who continued to shock the tennis world with her poise, humility, determination, composure, fighting spirit, and the tenacity to produce remarkable results in pressured moments.

“I am a little bit in shock right now. I have no words to describe how I feel,” Gauff said in an on-court interview on the tennis channel after the match.

She added, “Honestly, I wasn’t nervous going in today which is a surprise. The only time I get a bit nervous is in the morning. I go for a walk and that clears my head. I had to be more patient,” Gauff said.

 “Being American I grew up hitting like this and hitting hard and I had to remind myself this is not the one to attack. I played her (referring to Martina Trevisan) two years ago, and I lost against her and I know how difficult it is to play against her.”

Gauff came into prominence when at aged 15, defeated legendary tennis icon, Venus Williams, in her dream debut at Wimbledon in 2019. And made her way through to the round of 16 in the All England Club where she became the youngest player to qualify for the Wimbledon’s main draw in the open era – and also the youngest player to reach the second week of Wimbledon since fellow American Jennifer Capriati advanced to the semifinals in 1991, also at 15. 

Since her dream Wimbledon run, Gauff has been on a rollercoaster and showed no signs of looking back – defeated champions like Naomi Osaka in the process of making history after history.

In the last three years on tour, she’s managed to advance past the Round of 16 in almost all four majors (Australian Open twice, Wimbledon twice) – in addition to her quarterfinal appearance at the French Open last year – and a third round qualification in her maiden US Open in 2019.

Gauff has earned success playing in the doubles as well and is through to the semifinals at Roland Garros alongside countrywoman Jessica Pegula. The pair has reached the last four of the French Open following a three-set (6-4, 4-6,6-4) win over Anna Bondar & her doubles partner Greek Minnen on Court Simonne-Mathieu on Wednesday. 

Should they win tomorrow’s semifinal showdown with compatriots Madison Keys & Taylor Townsend, it will be their first major final as teammates in the doubles – which comes on the back of the 1000 women’s title they won at the Qatar TotalEnergies Open in Doha in February of this year. 

However, it will be Gauff’s second consecutive appearance in a major doubles final. Last year, the four-time WTA doubles champion Gauff, reached the US Open final with her regular doubles teammate and close friend Caty McNally from Cincinnati.

 

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