American tennis prodigy 15-year-old Cori ‘Coco’ Gauff, put up an astonishing display on Friday to become the fifth youngest woman to ever reach the last round, the Round of 16 in the Wimbledon Open era. The teenager who made international headlines after she knocked out five-time champion Venus Williams in the first round soon became the number one trending person worldwide on Twitter.
Amid the cries of “we love you”, Coco began her third round in the Centre Court and rallied a hard-fought victory to keep her historic run in the tournament going. After being one set and 5-2 down in the match against Polona Hercog, Gauff pulled off a dramatic comeback victory in the third set and finished 3-6 7-6 (9-7) 7-5. She is now one victory away from the quarterfinals of the tournament.
Hercog comfortably won her first set 6-3 in 36 minutes. As it began to appear that Gauff was staring a defeat, the tennis phenomenon evened up the score in the second set, benefiting off her Slovenian opponent’s errors to earn the win, 7-6 (7). Hercog struggled to keep up with Gauff in the third round and lost 7-5, reported CNN. “I’m super shocked, but I’m just super blessed that Wimbledon decided to give me the wild card,” Gauff had said in her post-match press conference, as cited by WTA. “I mean, I never expected this to happen.
She continued, “Obviously I literally got my dream draw, so I’m just super happy I was able to pull it out today. She played amazing, was just super nice. She’s always been nice the couple of times I met her.” At one point during her match on Friday Gauff and her mother were seen pounding their chests in celebration with the crowd rising to their feet with a roar.
After her second-round match, Gauff said that she had celebrities messaging her directly and said Friday that Beyonce’s mom Tina, posted her on Instagram. “I was, like, screaming,” she said, reported CNN. Gauff is both the younger player to qualify for Wimbledon in the Open era, as well as the youngest player to reach the last 32 since 1991. She has become the youngest woman to reach the last 16 since Jennifer Capriati advanced all the way to the semifinals in 1991, also at the age of 15. She won the junior French Open title in 2018 at the age of 14.
Matina Hingis from Switzerland was 14 when she made her Wimbledon debut and a year later in 1996 she won the doubles title to become the youngest grand slam champion. American Andrea Jaeger was 15 when she reached the quarter-finals in 1980 and the finals in 1983 when she lost to Martina Navratilova. Capriati also from America reached the last 16 in 1990 at the age of 14 but lost to Steffi Graf.