Thu, 27 Feb 2020

Gauff upsets Osaka, Serena out at Australian Open

Field Level Media
25 Jan 2020, 03:05 GMT+10

Coco Gauff upset defending champion Naomi Osaka in a dominating 6-3, 6-4 third-round victory on Friday at the Australian Open in Melbourne.

Gauff, 15, becomes the youngest player ever to eliminate the defending champion at the tournament, needing just 67 minutes to pull off a bit of revenge. In the third round of the U.S. Open in 2019, it was Osaka who crushed Gauff 6-3, 6-0 in 65 minutes.

"Even before the tournament I think almost every player has a belief that they can win it," Gauff said. "Some stronger than others. I just always have the belief I can win regardless of my opponents."

Gauff made just 17 unforced errors to 30 for the No. 3 seed Osaka and became the first 15-year old to move into the second week of two Grand Slams since Martina Hingis in 1995 and 1996. Gauff also advanced to the fourth round at Wimbledon.

"I learned a lot from that (2019) U.S. Open," Gauff said. "Not even just playing against Naomi, but the whole tournament."

Gauff next will meet No. 14 seed Sofia Kenin, who defeated China's Shuai Zhang 7-5, 7-6 (7).

Osaka reached deuce on Gauff's serve in the first game to open the match but could not reach a break point. She won just four more points the rest of the first set on Gauff's serve.

In the second set, Osaka dropped serve in the opening game but broke serve right back against Gauff. But after Gauff broke Osaka's serve again to take a 4-3 lead, Gauff did not lose another point on her serve.

"You don't want to lose to a 15-year-old, you know," Osaka said. "But I guess that's, for me, a reality check. It doesn't really matter the age of the opponent. Of course she deserves to be here. She played her matches. I just have to work harder."

It was not the only memorable match of the day as No. 8 seed Serena Williams was eliminated by China's Qiang Wang.

Wang, the No. 27 seed, will face Ons Jabeur in the fourth round, after the Tunisian beat Caroline Wozniacki in what turned out be Wozniacki's final professional match.

Wang won despite numerous blown opportunities, including failing to close out Williams when serving for the match in the second set, losing three of four service points in the second-set tiebreaker, and blowing double-match point in the final game before finally closing it out on deuce, her third match point of the day.

"I'm really happy now, still happy," Wang said in her post-match news conference. "I always believe I can do this one day. But I don't know which day, but it's coming today.

Williams had more winners than Wang -- 43 to 25 -- but committed 56 unforced errors compared to 20 for Wang.

"I just made far too many errors to be a professional athlete today," Williams told the media in her post-match news conference.

"If we were just honest with ourselves it's all on my shoulders; I lost that match. ... I can't play like that. I literally can't do that again. It's unprofessional and it's not cool."

Williams, a seven-time winner in the Australian Open, remains in an elusive search of her 24th career Grand Slam victory and first since the 2017 Australian Open.

In other third-round matches, No. 1 seed Ashleigh Barty of Australia earned a dominating 6-3, 6-2 victory over No. 29 seed Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan.

No. 18 seed Alison Riske rallied for a 1-6, 7-6 (4), 6-2 victory over Germany's Julia Goerges, while No. 22 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece upset No. 10 seed Madison Keys 6-4, 6-4. Rounding out the third round on Friday, No. 7 seed Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic earned an easy 6-1, 6-2 victory over No. 25 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia.

--Field Level Media

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