It was heartbreak for America’s 15-year-old sensation Coco Gauff as her dream run at the Australian Open came to an end in the fourth round against compatriot Sofia Kenin in straight sets. She lost the match 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 6-0 and was left in tears after the loss.
Gauff had initially taken the lead against the 14th seed.
Kenin now plays Tunisia’s unseeded Ons Jabeur after she defeated China’s Wang Qiang to become the first Arab woman to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final.
“I just did the best I can. I just tried to take it like any other match,” said Kenin, who also had tears in her eyes afterwards.
There was not a lot to choose between the two players but at the end of the day Kenin’s better first serve percentage seemed to have done the trick.
“I know she’s (Gauff) playing well, I just tried to play my game and fight for every point and just not focus on anything else.”
Ever since Gauff mauled experienced Venus Williams in the opening round, she became one of the stories of the Australian Open, and then she stunned reigning champion Naomi Osaka in round three to build a reputation for herself.
The supremely talented teenager, who turns 16 in March, was attempting to become the youngest player to win a Grand Slam in the Open Era, which began in 1968. The current record-holder is Martina Hingis, who triumphed at the 1997 Australian Open at 16 years old and nearly four months.
Gauff was under the cosh immediately against Kenin, the 21-year-old breaking in the first game at Melbourne Arena and comfortably holding for a swift 2-0 lead.
There was no mistaking who the crowd wanted to win — each point for Gauff greeted with cheers and screams; there was only polite applause for Moscow-born Kenin.
The 67th-ranked Gauff recovered to gain parity for 4-4 and they went to the tie-break after Kenin saved set point.
Gauff then stepped it up a gear in the tie-break — aided by two Kenin double-faults — to take the first set in 58 minutes.