Delray Beach tennis phenom Cori “Coco” Gauff’s run at the Australian Open ended on Sunday, as fellow American Sofia Kenin defeated her.
The 21-year-old Kenin, who defeated another local tennis star, Serena Williams, in straight sets at last year’s French Open, ended up beating Gauff by two sets to one to get her first-ever Grand Slam quarterfinal.
Gauff took the first set on a tie break, but 14th seed Kenin recovered and won the next two sets by 6-3 and 6-0.
The players hugged at mid-court and then left in tears.
“Obviously it meant a lot to me. I was just so happy to have won,” Kenin says. “It was a tough match.”
The 15-year-old Gauff explains, “Even though I lost a set 6-0, I was still believing I could win it.”
She also says she was surprised by the crowd’s support during her matches in Melbourne, adding, “I really didn’t think I would be such a favorite. The whole stadium was really rooting for me. That was surprising, considering this isn’t my home slam. I guess I’m an adopted Australian now.”
— Sofia Kenin (@SofiaKenin) January 24, 2020
Gauff became the youngest professional player to eliminate a reigning women’s champion at the tournament, when she defeated Japan’s Naomi Osaka in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, to advance to the fourth round and face Kenin.
She is now looking ahead to the French Open in May, as well as the Tokyo Olympic Games.
“It’ll be difficult but I’m going to try as hard as possible,” she says. “I’d definitely love to play at the Olympics. My short-term goal is to improve. I’m doing well right now at 15 and still have so much more I can get better on. I don’t even think this is close to a peak for me.
As far as the road to where she is now, Gauff adds, “I don’t think anybody could write how this past couple months have gone. I’m definitely going to savor this and continue to build and get better to work for moments like this.”