Coco Gauff at the 2023 US Open. (Photo by Derrel Jazz Johnson for rolling out.)
Teenage tennis superstar Coco Gauff started two of her four 2023 US Open matches by losing the first sets. To become the first American teen to advance to the semifinals of the US Open since Serena Williams in 2001, Gauff got off to arguably the best start of her career against a top opponent.
Gauff, ranked No. 6, dominated No. 20 Jelena Ostapenko 6-0, 6-2 in a little over an hour to reach her first US Open semifinal and her second career Grand Slam final in front of stars like Vanessa Williams and Spike Lee.Ostapenko wasn’t able to hold serve against Gauff until 48 minutes into the match during the second set. The only other game she won in the match was when she broke Gauff’s serve in the second set.
Gauff discussed the commanding victory after the match and her overall growth as a player.I think doing well in those tournaments built my mental endurance. Always had the physical endurance but it built my mental endurance.“Right now I feel emotionally fresh, which I think was the problem in the past in Grand Slams, I would emotionally be drained,” she explained. “Obviously I’m physically fresh and emotionally fresh, and I think that just came from experience. I think this is one of the harder runs I’ve had to the quarterfinal stage. Obviously, I never got to semis (at the US Open), but I don’t know, I just feel so fresh, to be honest. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been tricking myself or maybe when this is over I’m going to hit a wall. But I’m really proud of how I’m able to get through these matches.”
Gauff also discussed being the first American teen to reach the semifinals since Serena Williams.
“Being in any sentence with her is great,” she acknowledged. “I mean, she’s the greatest player of all time. You know, I’m nothing close to that yet. I’m just really honored to be in the same sentence as her. It’s something that I’m used to a lot. So, you know, I’m not going to sit here and be like, oh, I’m shocked, but I feel like a lot of the stats have aligned with her, and people find new things to think about. I was the first teenager in the quarters and now semis, so I’m guessing if I win, they’re going to be, like, finals. It’s just going to keep going.”
Gauff will take on Karolína Muchová Thursday, Sept. 7.
Ben Shelton continued his tremendous play by taking out fellow American Frances Tiafoe 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7), 6-2 in a historic matchup between Black men with the winner advancing to the semifinals. Shelton will take on Novak Djokovic.
Source: Rolling Out