At 15 years old, Coco Gauff is the youngest pro-tennis player to beat a reigning titleholder at a Grand Slam tournament since 1991 and the youngest to reach the last 16 at the Australian Open since Martina Hingis in 1996, according to ABC.
On Friday, Gauff eliminated defending champion Naomi Osaka from the Australian Open defeating the champ in a straight-sets victory on Rod Laver Arena.
She upset the sports world with that victory and was on a good run, also beating Venus Williams during her Open campaign and matching her best finish in the Slams after having also made the fourth round at Wimbledon last year in her debut at a major.
But, unfortunately, Gauff’s run has come to an end, as the young teen was bested by fellow American Sofia Kenin in the fourth round at the Australian Open.
Gauff was on top early against Kenin after winning the opening set on Melbourne Arena. But Kenin, who is the women’s 14th seed, made a comeback to triumph 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 6-0 in two hours and nine minutes.
Gauff didn’t appear to be holding on to too many hard feelings after her loss to Kenin, saying to reporters that she had taken several lessons away from her experience at the Open and that she’s happy to have handled her defeat gracefully.
“Even though today I lost a set 6-0, I was still believing I could win it,” she said. “I don’t think I showed any negative emotion too much in the match. I just tried my best. I was just coming in pretty calm. I’m happy that I’m not letting the moment seem too big [sic] than what it is.”
ABC describes Gauff’s demeanor as a sportsmanship best:
Gauff did not seem overawed by the occasion of playing in the fourth round, despite her inexperience in the majors.
She was not rattled when she dropped serve in the opening game of the match, eventually rebounding when she broke Kenin after switching racquets for a 4-4 score line.
Nor was Gauff fazed when Kenin had two break points in the following game, as she recovered to win for a 5-4 lead on serve.
Even when she squandered set points in the tiebreak she was able to find an answer, and with a pump of a fist and a scream of “C’mon!” she celebrated her early advantage amid the roars of the crowd.
This defeat is nothing compared to what Gauff has achieved in Melbourne in what is only her third appearance at a major. She’s expected to rise in the rankings significantly, up from her current standing of 67, as a result of what she has done there.
So we can all expect that this won’t be the last time we see Coco Gauff’s name in headlines.