A 15-year-old ranked outside the top 100 has stolen the show so far at Wimbledon. The former world number one junior has turned heads with her unbelievable run to the fourth round. A packed Centre Court was resolutely behind the American teenager as she beat Slovenian Polona Hercog 3-6 7-6 (9-7) 7-5 last Friday. “The crowd was amazing. Even when I was down match point they were still cheering me on.” She said after her third round victory.
Gauff is the new bride in tennis and her smooth entry into the big stage has seen her gain more admirers and fans within her short space of time. One of her admirers is 23-time Grand Slam winner, Serena Williams. She said: “I think there are some 15-year-olds, like me, who wouldn’t know what to do at Wimbledon. Then you have a 15-year-old like Coco who knows what to do. I think she’s doing everything great. A big fan actually. I am so excited for her. Love her family. I just couldn’t feel more proud. I would be wrong to step in right now and give her advice. I think she’s doing great. I think there are some 15-year-olds, like me, who wouldn’t know what to do at Wimbledon. Then you have a 15-year-old like Coco who knows what to do. It really depends. I think she’s definitely on a different level, so I think she’s totally capable and ready, to be honest. I just think it just depends. Not every 15-year-old is the same.”
Prior to her Wimbledon debut, Gauff’s only previous appearance at this level was at the Miami Open in March, where she defeated Catherine Mcnally before losing to Daria Kasatkina in the second round. The teenager was ranked 686th at the end of last season, but she has moved significantly in ranking to number 313 at the start of Wimbledon. Gauff briefly broke into the top 300 for the first time in early June, after winning her first ever Grand Slam qualifying match at the French Open. She defeated Ankita Raina in the first qualifying round, but fell to Kaja Juvan in the second round.
Coco is into the second week at All England Club tournament but she faces arguably the biggest test of her career till date in Simona Halep. Halep is attempting to reach the Wimbledon quarter finals for the fourth time in the last six years as she continues her quest for a first title at Wimbledon, and her first title of the season. The Romanian was not quite at her best on the opening couple of rounds, beating Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2 7-5 in her opening match, after trailing 2-5 in the second set and saving set point, before battling past fellow Romanian, Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-3 4-3 6-2 in the second round. However, she stepped it up against Victoria Azarenka in the third round taking out the two-time Australian Open winner in straight sets.
The teenager arrived in London as an interest: the youngest qualifier in the tournament’s history and the first 15-year-old to compete in the main draw for a decade. Her matches have attracted the largest TV audiences and she’s the talk of the United States. Right now, everything is easy for Coco Gauff. Having watched Coco in her three matches at Wimbledon where she makes fearless shots and has an uncanny assurance about her game, we are in for a huge game this afternoon at 2.30pm BST – it is the first meeting between Halep and Gauff. The teenager has nothing to lose and can go on the court and express herself. She is likely to enjoy the crowd support on Number 1 Court again today.