Coco Gauff doesn’t even have her driver’s license yet, but she is running over the competition en route to entering the history books at the Australian Open.
The 15-year-old tennis sensation shocked the sports world when she defeated fourth-ranked Naomi Osaka in straight sets overnight, 6-3, 6-4, becoming the youngest woman in the professional era to defeat the defending champion of the Australian Open, according to Fox News.
Just a few months ago at the last grand slam at the U.S. Open in New York, Osaka thrashed Gauff 6-3, 6-0, to end her improbable run there. And very few tennis pundits gave Gauff a chance in the rematch.
“Honestly, like, what is my life? Like, oh, my gosh!” Gauff said during her on-court interview at the end of the match, according to ESPN. “Two years ago, I lost first round in juniors and now I’m here. This is crazy.”
With the victory, Gauff also becomes the youngest player to beat a top-five opponent in a professional match since the legendary Jennifer Capriati beat Gabriela Sabatini at age 15 in 1991, almost 30 years ago.
Osaka briefly talked about the pressure in playing a child prodigy who has captured the imagination of fans worldwide.
“You don’t want to lose to a 15-year-old, you know?” Osaka said.
This time around, Gauff, whose real name is Cori Gauff, said she would not be overwhelmed by the moment or the gigantic stage as she was at Arthur Ashe Stadium at the U.S. Open.
“I will be more aggressive,” she said during her press conference prior to her match with Osaka, according to ESPN. “I know her ball.” By that, Gauff meant she is familiar with the tendencies and ball-striking abilities that made Osaka the No. 1 player in the world last year.
And you could see from the beginning that Gauff had improved dramatically, though Osaka’s sloppy play contributed to her own demise. Osaka made 30 unforced errors, nearly double that of Gauff’s 17.
Also, Gauff scored a much higher percentage on her first serves and handled Osaka’s returns better than she did the first time around in Queens.
“Her serve is way better,” Osaka said, according to ESPN. “I feel like I wasn’t really swinging freely, and she was.”
And now Gauff is free to try to become one of the youngest ever winners of a grand slam tournament at the Australian Open in Melbourne.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 24, 2020