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Sport Teenager startles the tennis world with win over defending champ

21:45  24 january  2020
21:45  24 january  2020 Source:   smh.com.au

Nightmare run continues for former Open champ

  Nightmare run continues for former Open champ Angelique Kerber was forced to quit mid-match in Adelaide, throwing her Australian Open preparations into chaos.Kerber, who also made the semi finals at Melbourne Park in 2018, dropped the first set to Dayana Yastremska 6-3 and was trailing 2-0 in the second set when she called the trainer for treatment on her lower back, before conceding the match.

a woman holding a racket on a court: Coco Gauff celebrates her win over defending champion Naomi Osaka at the Australian Open. © Getty Images Coco Gauff celebrates her win over defending champion Naomi Osaka at the Australian Open. Two years ago, when 13-year-old Coco Gauff lost in the first round of the Australian Open junior tournament, Roger Federer was on hand to reassure her that it was not the end of the world. 

"That definitely had a big impact, because I think I won [the] French Open," she said. "I'm pretty sure [the] French Open was my next tournament after that conversation I ended up winning."

Gauff and Federer share an agent. As it happens, when Gauff shocked reigning Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka on Friday night, Federer was there again, waiting to play the next match.

Champ Osaka plays down rivalry with Barty

  Champ Osaka plays down rivalry with Barty Japanese superstar Naomi Osaka is focused solely on her Australian Open title defence, not her so-called rivalry with Australia's world No.1 Ashleigh Barty. Very much her own person, Osaka also played down talk of fierce rivalries as she sets about adding a third grand slam crown to her collection.

"Actually Roger was also the third person I saw after my match today," she said, "Inside he told me: congrats. I was, like, thank you. Trying to be calm. Inside, I was, like oh, wow."

Gauff is still only 15 and yet to finish school, but plainly a fast learner. Less than six months ago, she played Osaka in the third round of the US Open, where Osaka was reigning champion, and lost 6-3 6-0.

Naomi Osaka wearing a hat: Naomi Osaka was bundled out of the Australian Open in the third round. © Getty Images Naomi Osaka was bundled out of the Australian Open in the third round.

On Friday night, Gauff played Osaka again in the third round of the Australian Open, where Osaka is also the reigning champion. Incredibly, Gauff won 6-3 6-4, startling the tennis world.

Gauff took tennis lessons from the first match into the second. "The pace of her ball. She definitely plays faster than most players," she said.

Stosur planning another run at Aussie Open

  Stosur planning another run at Aussie Open Veteran Samantha Stosur won't let her fifth successive Australian Open first round loss force her into retirement, confirming she's planning to return in 2021.Stosur was never really in the hunt against American teenager qualifier Caty McNally, falling 6-1 6-4 in their Monday night clash.

"I think at [the] US Open I wasn't really prepared for that. And today I definitely showed that I worked on that in the off-season." This was the extra aggression that Gauff had pledged herself to pre-match.

Her serve had sped up, too; Osaka noticed it. And she was two centimetres taller.

Gauff's education was not just technical. She said she had been tense at the US Open. "I think I was on edge," she said. "I had the three-setters in the first two rounds of the US Open. I think that was just dealing with all of the media.

"I feel like now I'm more playing, just having fun. Winning is a cherry on top, but I'm honestly having a lot of fun on the court, even in those tight situations."

Gauff is skipping the tennis grades so quickly and with such sangfroid that it is easy to forget that she really should be at school. Celebrating on court, she said: "What is my life?"

Pictures: Best photos from the Australian Open 2020

Gauff survives three-set thriller, to face Osaka in Melbourne

  Gauff survives three-set thriller, to face Osaka in Melbourne Gauff survives three-set thriller, to face Osaka in MelbourneThe 15-year-old Gauff, who beat seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams in the first round, was broken midway through the opening set as she struggled with errors off her forehand and a composed performance from her more experienced Romanian opponent.

"I was just trying to enjoy the moment and savour the moment," she said. "I still wouldn't say I'm used to this. It was my first time on Rod Laver. So I was just trying already before my match trying to get over that kind of hump, playing on a court I have never played on before in such a big stage." Off court as on, she is collected beyond her years.

Australian tennis prodigy, 15, collapses on the court and dies while preparing for a junior tournament in Nepal

  Australian tennis prodigy, 15, collapses on the court and dies while preparing for a junior tournament in Nepal Kent Yamazaki was in Nepal preparing for an International Tennis Federation tournament on Wednesday when he fell and hit his head, never regaining consciousness.Kent Yamazaki was in Nepal preparing for an International Tennis Federation tournament on Wednesday when he fell.

This is just Gauff's third major championship. At Wimbledon last year, she reached the fourth round, then the third at the US, and now the fourth here. That is a precocious record.

After their US Open encounter, Osaka had consoled Gauff, star to starlet.

"I'm forever thankful for that moment." Gauff said. "Not just for me, it was a great moment for me, but also the people watching."

Six months later, it was Osaka who needed comforting.

For Gauff, the sky's the limit. But first, there is her homework.

  • Topics:
  • Tennis
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  • Australian Open
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  • Nick Kyrgios
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  • Ash Barty
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  • Serena Williams
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  • Naomi Osaka
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  • Rafa Nadal
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  • Andy Murray
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  • Roger Federer
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  • Novak Djokovic
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  • Alex de Minaur

Australian tennis prodigy, 15, collapses on the court and dies while preparing for a junior tournament in Nepal .
Kent Yamazaki was in Nepal preparing for an International Tennis Federation tournament on Wednesday when he fell and hit his head, never regaining consciousness.Kent Yamazaki was in Nepal preparing for an International Tennis Federation tournament on Wednesday when he fell.

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