She has had monumental accomplishments in her career thus far; Gauff became the youngest qualifier in Wimbledon history at 15 and even beat Venus Williams! This year, she excelled as both a student and tennis player by graduating from high school and becoming the youngest grand slam finalist. Sunday night, she made history again after her performance in the US Open. She competed against China’s Shuai Zhang, a player who defeated her at last year’s US Open in a double’s competition. It was a tough match! Finishing 5-4 in the opening set then 5-3 in the second, she was one point from losing before the crowd of 20,000 people in Ashe Stadium started chanting, “Let’s go, Coco!”
During the final game, she landed a two-handed backhand, and Zhang hit a volley into the net. Winning 7-5,7-5. She began wagging her finger, which only made the crowd cheer even more! Once the match ended, she had officially become the youngest American to reach the quarterfinals since Melanie Oudin in 2009.
The teenage tennis player credits the crowd’s energy for her stellar performance: “Here, I can’t hear myself scream. Makes me want to do it more. I think I’m feeding off the momentum a lot. I enjoy it.” In response to the crowd cheering her on, Gauff continued, “It feels insane, I mean Ashe Stadium chanting my name! I was trying not to smile on the bench on my last changeover. I was trying to stay in the moment, but in my head I was smiling. I can’t believe you guys were chanting like that. It’s crazy.”
The crowd was so intense that her opponent described the noise as a “boom.” However, Zhang remained a good sport. “Everything is very good. She’s so much younger than me. Her energy is so much better. She’s faster. She’s powerful,’” Zhang said. Gauff is set to compete against French national Carolina Garcia, ranked No.17. When asked about the upcoming match, Garcia said, “I’m super excited to play Coco in the U.S., in New York, quarterfinal of a Slam. It’s great.”
Gauff’s father, Corey, also shared his reaction to the excited crowd. “It got so raucous in there that I got a headache and had to take an Advil. I kept pinching myself. I’m like, ‘My gosh, all of these people are here for my daughter.’ You dream about this, but you never know. [Coco] was pumping herself up, and they responded to her. It sent chills up my spine.’” The young tennis player has never won a match at Ashe Stadium so it was definitely a big moment. “She’s found a home there,” said Coco’s father “I hope she’s going to play there for the rest of the tournament,” he continued.
Out of 13 major matches, Gauff has won 11. Earlier this year, she made it to the French Open final where she lost to Iga Swiatek. The young star was looking forward to playing against her biggest inspiration and role model, Serena Williams, in the semifinals; however, she just played her last game before retirement. It’s still great to see that Coco is keeping Black girl magic alive on the court.
News Source: BOTWC / Written Credits to: BOTWC Staff