Gauff, 15, to take on defending champ Osaka next at US Open

Ruben Hill
August 30, 2019

Someone asked Osaka what causes she believed in most.

American teenage sensation Coco Gauff continued another eye-opening run at a Grand Slam event with a hard-fought 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 victory over Hungarian qualifier Timea Babos on Thursday night, setting up a third-round showdown with World No.1 and defending champion Naomi Osaka at the US Open. "I was just trying to get them and the crowd jumped up". Babos, though, was only able to win 40 percent of points on her second serve, while Gauff claimed half of her second-service points. "Give me a sec", she said.

"This is just the beginning, I promise", Gauff said afterwards to the still-buzzing audience. "You know, like, last year compared to this year there is no way, like, Kobe would sit in my box".

"We made our best effort to be ready and play our heart out, but it got really worse during my opening match in NY", she wrote. She rallied from a set down in the first round against Anastasia Potapova and didn't wilt when Babos found another gear in the second set Thursday. But I'm a little bit newer to the game. Bryant, the retired National Basketball Association superstar, came to the U.S. Open to promote a new book. "She played so good".

While Osaka moved on, another two-time Grand Slam champion was eliminated when No. 6 Petra Kvitova was upset by Andrea Petkovic 6-4, 6-4.

Osaka, a 21-year-old who represents Japan, came into last year's U.S. Open having never made a major quarterfinal.

The American teenager was almost derailed by Babos in the third set, but Gauff held on in the third for a 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 victory.

Until Thursday, that is. "I just would actually need to practice doubles for the first time in my life".

"I just realized", she said. The sport has seen too many child prodigies done in by the pressures of premature fame, even if those cautionary tales are less common today than in previous generations.

How did she do it? In the victory, Osaka won 83 percent of her first serve points and 59 percent of her second serve points. In other first-round matches, fourth-seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem, who is recovering from a viral flu, appeared exhausted in the second-half of the match, and was bounced out of the tournament by Italian Thomas Fabbiano 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 2-6. The crowd very much wanted to see her do just that, and instead watched her receive three questionable code violations.

"I would say that was kind of like my breakthrough tournament, match, too because she was the first-ever player I beat who was in the top 10 before", Andreescu said of Wozniacki, whom she defeated in the tournament in Auckland, N.Z. that launched her 2019 season and first put her on the world's tennis radar.

"You're kidding me. Really?"

Men's fifth seed Daniil Medvedev, coming off a maiden Masters title in Cincinnati, was struck down by cramp during a 6-3, 7-5, 5-7, 6-3 win over Bolivia's Hugo Dellien. Zverev outlasted Frances Tiafoe 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 in a match that lasted 3 hours, 9 minutes.

Other early winners included No. 16 Johanna Konta, who routed Margarita Gasparyan 6-1, 6-0; and No. 20 Sofia Kenin, who swept past Laura Siegemund 7-6 (4), 6-0. He has shared his experiences with Osaka and was pleased she gave a positive review to the book, which will be released next Tuesday by Bryant's Granity Studios.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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