The first time competing on Arthur Ashe Stadium at the US Open can be intimidating for some tennis players. Of course, if your name is Coco Gauff, you’re completely unbothered, so you just show up and dominate.
The No. 12 seed began her 2022 US Open with a commanding 6-2, 6-3 win over Leolia Jeanjean of France. No matter what she was feeling on the inside, Coco’s game showed no signs of nerves or apprehension.
“I was really nervous, I was feeling the pressure,” Gauff said, per WTA Tennis. “It’s my first back in the home slam after a final. To be frank, I didn’t think I was going to be on Ashe today. Opening the women’s draw on Ashe, too, at that.”
“But it is nice to break the barrier,” she continued. “I really didn’t think about it until after the match was over and then I walked out [to salute] the crowd and said, ‘Wait, I haven’t done this before.’ That’s why I told them it was my first win on Ashe.”
The French Open finalist’s serve was unbeatable on Monday. She had eight aces, with just three double faults and no break points against her. In fact, Coco won 91 percent of her first serve points.
“Today was a good match for me,” Gauff said. “I think for the first round usually I’m nervous, but the way I played, I don’t think I felt that way.”
While Serena Williams is everyone’s sentimental pick, Gauff is a definite threat to get over that last obstacle and win her first Grand Slam. Her chances got even better with the shocking first-round upset of No. 7 seed Simona Halep. That leaves Coco as the top seed in her section of the draw, giving her an advantageous path to the finals.
Gauff is currently the No. 1 women’s doubles player in the world, and with her partner, Jessica Pegula, she will play Leylah Fernandez and Daria Saville on Wednesday.
Up next in singles for Coco is Elena-Gabriela Ruse of Romania, whom she’s also scheduled to play on Wednesday.