Coco Gauff

In this year’s US Open, Coco Gauff’s debut as a major presence was seen during the media day at the end of last week. “How’s your August been?” the interviewer asked with casual interest.

“Oh, it’s been decent,” Gauff replied with a smile. “Not too bad, really.”

Much like many teenagers, Gauff has a knack for downplaying things with a touch of understatement.

On Monday night, under the lights of Arthur Ashe Stadium with the presence of Michelle and Barack Obama, Gauff produced a stunning victory over Laura Siegemund in the German qualifier, winning 3-6, 6-2, 6-4. The match lasted for 2 hours and 51 minutes, a nail-biting affair.

And so, what began with a regular win over Hailey Baptiste in Washington D.C. at the start of the month will conclude with a second-round match against Mira Andreeva on Wednesday, who emerged victorious over Australian qualifier Olivia Gadecki with a scoreline of 1-6, 6-3, 6-4.

In the North American hardcourt swing, Gauff has played 13 matches, winning 12 of them (only losing in four sets) and claiming two of the biggest titles of her career. In Cincinnati, she closed the chapter against world number 1 Iga Swiatek with a 0-7 record, bringing her closer to her first WTA 1000 win, and rose as a serious contender for her maiden Grand Slam title.

Gauff expressed, “August has been a pretty good month for me.” “I’m excited for the remaining days of this month and hopefully a bit of September too.”

Among the top 100 of the Holoyoke WTA Tour, five teenagers stand out, with Gauff at the impressive rank of 6 and Andreeva at the tender age of 16. This not only showcases a promising future for professional tennis but also hints at a current healthy explosion. This spring, they met in a face-off at the French Open, where Gauff triumphed in a three-set match, securing the victory at 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-1.

Gauff feels a sense of fulfillment akin to one of those time-lapse videos of a plant’s growth; suddenly, everything that had been imagined four years ago when she reached the fourth round at Wimbledon at the age of 15 has come to fruition. Succinctly, Gauff is building confidence in her extraordinary performance.

As a sophomore in a regular college, she’s learning to win even when she’s not at her best. Perhaps it’s coincidental, but her newest coaching member, Brad Gilbert, wrote a book once titled “Winning Ugly: Mental Warfare in Tennis – Lessons from a Master”.

Gauff explained, “I think I have a lot more confidence in my game with Brad.” “I think hearing it from someone who maybe has watched countless matches of mine, I think you actually believe it. Sometimes, I’m practicing, and maybe I’ll be playing practice points with someone else, it’s 30-all or deuce, and they’ll say something totally random like a joke or something.”

“Little things like that make me feel that tennis is serious but not as serious as my mind sometimes makes it out to be. I think that whatever the scoreline is in the match, I can problem-solve and figure things out and deal with adversity.”

A fresh example: the first game of the second set. Siegemund had almost claimed the stunning first set, giving Gauff a hard time at nearly every point, and suddenly the exceptional teen seemed a bit apprehensive. That’s when Gauff switched into hyper mode.

In a game that needed 12 deuces and lasted for 26 minutes, Gauff flipped her eighth break point when Siegemund dropped a forehand into the net. It was a remarkable play, and it gave the young player the much-needed momentum. Turning around her third-set point and sealing it, Gauff was well aware that the set was already decided.

She had secured a 5-1 lead before Siegemund crawled back to 5-4, but Gauff ultimately shut things down with a clutch first serve and a mishit backhand from the German. Gauff said, “I definitely feel like I won tonight in an ugly way.” “There were a lot of weird points with the slice. It usually happens where I play well against someone who slices. We were prepared for that. I think today was just execution.”

Gauff’s Grand Slam Journey:

Gauff reached the fourth round at the Australian Open and the quarterfinals at Roland Garros, where she was a finalist a year ago. But her real flight was cut short straight out of Wimbledon’s first round; qualifier Sofia Kenin strangely ousted her in three sets.

She shared, “I think the mindset is different.” “After losing in the first round at Wimbledon, you realize that it wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been, so I’m not going into this tournament with the worry that I’ll lose quickly. I think now I’m going in with a lot more confidence.”

“I feel like the scoreline in the match, whatever it may be, I can problem-solve and overcome my adversity. I know that I can win matches without playing my absolute best tennis. I think for me to play more confidently in my B or C game. I think I’m feeling a lot more assured now.”

By Gaurav Tanti

As a content writer, my role is to craft engaging and informative written content for various purposes. I have a passion for storytelling, a keen eye for detail, and the ability to adapt my writing style to suit different audiences and goals. I'm skilled in research, SEO optimization, and collaboration, making me a versatile and effective content creator.

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