Unseeded Coco Gauff completed her revenge over reigning champion Naomi Osaka in a stunning-straight sets victory in the round 3 of Australian Open on Friday. The 15-year-old defeated the No.3 seed Osaka 6-3, 6-4 to advance into the Round of 16 at the opening slam of the season.
Courtesy her impressive win over Osaka, Gauff also avenged her heavy defeat coming at the hands of Japanese star in the last year’s US Open. The duo met five months ago in New York, also in round three, then-world number one Osaka crushed the American teenager 6-3, 6-0 in a little over an hour.
But at the Rod Laver Arena on Friday, Gauff showed remarkable calmness and composure to put pressure on Osaka right from the word go. Her big serving, consistent groundstrokes and Osaka’s unforced error count also contributed to American’s advantage.
Also during the off-season, Gauff had spent time training with legendary Serena Williams which might have worked to the teenager’s advantage when it comes to handling the big stage pressure.
Gauff, who also made the fourth round at Wimbledon last year, becomes the first player in Open Era to reach two Grand Slam second weeks as a 15-year-old since Martina Hingis. The Swiss legend had reached a US Open fourth round and semifinal, an Australian Open quarterfinal and a Wimbledon fourth round in 1995-96 season before her 16th birthday.
In the fourth round, Gauff will play 14th seed Sofia Kenin of the United States or China’s Zhang Shuai.
“Oh my gosh. Two years ago I lost the first round in the juniors and now I’m here — this is crazy,” said Gauff.
“I was just telling myself one point at a time and just keep fighting because you never know what happens on this court.”