Gauff is ready for grand slam glory

Coco Gauff broke new ground by reaching the quarter-finals of the French Open – and the teenager is hungry for more.

The 17-year-old American caused a sensation when she made the fourth round at Wimbledon two years ago and repeated the feat at the Australian Open in 2020.

Now she has gone one better and, if her form in a 6-3 6-1 victory over Ons Jabeur is anything to go by, she is a legitimate contender for the title.

Gauff said: “It means a lot to me, especially as I have lost in the fourth round a couple of times, so it feels good to get over that hurdle. Today I played probably my best match so far in the tournament.

“It definitely does feel different. I just feel like it’s been, I guess professional. I feel like all my matches have been straightforward wins, like no crazy three sets and stuff. As we know, I have had a lot of those in the past.

“I just feel like this has been the most consistent tennis I have played at this level. Hopefully I can keep that going.

Gauff has been in excellent form on the European clay, winning a title in Parma and rising to a career-high ranking of 25 in the world.

She was dominant in all areas against Tunisian Jabeur but particularly on serve, dropping just nine points on her own delivery in the match to cruise into the last eight.

In the last eight, the teenager will face another first-time slam quarter-finalist – in singles at least – in Czech Barbora Krejcikova.

The 25-year-old was even more dominant, beating former finalist Sloane Stephens 6-2 6-0.

Stephens had looked in good form but she made a slow start and never recovered, hitting 26 unforced errors compared to just nine winners.

Krejcikova is better known as a doubles player but she has been climbing the singles ladder and is now on a nine-match winning run after claiming a WTA title in Strasbourg.

She said she was so stressed out before the match on Monday she needed a pep talk from her psychologist to convince her to step onto the court.

“I was actually crying … We talked about it a lot, and, she told me like, ‘This is something … if you can overcome this, what you feel right now, it’s going to be a huge win, and it doesn’t matter if you’re gonna win on the court or lose on the court, because it’s going to be a personal win’.”

Mental health has been in the spotlight at the tournament since the early withdrawal of Naomi Osaka, who was fined heavily by the grand slams organisers and warned of expulsion after boycotting her first press conference having cited mental health concerns.


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