On Tuesday at the US Open, Coco Gauff extended her streak of impressive wins by easily defeating Jelena Ostapenko in two sets.
The player ranked sixth in the world did not drop a single game in the first set and went on to secure a dominant 6-0 6-2 win, earning a spot in the US Open semifinals for the first time.
Despite several top-ranked players in the women’s bracket being eliminated, Gauff remains as one of the remaining favorites.
Nineteen-year-old Gauff will next compete against either Sorana Cîrstea or Karolína Muchová, who was the runner-up in this year’s French Open, in the upcoming round.
“I am filled with joy,” Gauff expressed in her post-match interview following the victory. “Last year, I was defeated in the quarterfinals. I am delighted and eager to return to training for the next one.”
The American encountered a difficult task against the resurgent Ostapenko following the Latvian’s victory over defending champion Iga Świątek in the previous round.
However, despite playing in front of a supportive audience, Gauff displayed no signs of anxiety as she controlled the match and won the first set in only 20 minutes.
Ostapenko, the 2017 French Open champion, displayed increased aggression in the second set and managed to win two games, preventing a complete shutout.
Ultimately, the Latvian who was feeling frustrated was no match for Gauff as she faced consequences for repeatedly making mistakes.
Although the outcome appeared strong in writing, Gauff still had to put in effort to secure her victory.
Gauff attempted to secure the win and had two opportunities to do so, but Ostapenko managed to prevent it. However, Gauff was able to secure her 10th consecutive win by delivering a precise forehand shot.
“I didn’t feel comfortable at all during the match, even when I had match points,” Gauff expressed.
“I am familiar with [Ostapenko]’s style of play. She has a talent for making a comeback regardless of the score, so I was focused on winning every point and making sure each shot counted.”
“It was a difficult match against her as it was challenging to play aggressively. I did my best to be aggressive whenever possible, but mostly focused on hitting deep shots. She is a formidable opponent and had a fantastic tournament.”
After winning, Gauff becomes the first American teenager since Serena Williams in 2001 to make it to the semifinals of the US Open.
This is only the second instance in Gauff’s career where she has reached the semifinal round of a grand slam tournament. The previous time was at the 2022 French Open, where she was defeated in the final by Świątek.
The challenges Ostapenko faces with scheduling.
After defeating Świątek in the previous round, Ostapenko was dissatisfied with the limited amount of time she had to rest before her match against Gauff, despite her impressive win.
“I suppose if I play a late-night match, then I would have to play at the same time or later the next day because there isn’t much time to rest,” Ostapenko explained to reporters after her defeat. “I believe the schedule was more favorable for her since she played earlier in the day while I played in the evening session.”
The 26-year-old stated that she was confident she would be competing against Gauff during the evening session.
“I was under the impression that I would be playing in the evening session based on what I was told when I asked the day before. However, when the schedule was released, I noticed that I was scheduled for the first match and found it to be a bit unusual,” Ostapenko commented.
“When I looked at the schedule, I was somewhat taken aback, and not in a positive manner.”
CNN contacted the US Tennis Association regarding Ostapenko’s statements, however, they have not yet responded as of the time of publication.
Taking advantage of the chance.
Gauff now has a great chance at the US Open.
On Monday, the top-ranked player Świątek, the third-ranked player Jessica Pegula, and the fifth-ranked player Ons Jabeur were all eliminated from the tournament. This leaves Coco Gauff and the second-ranked player Aryna Sabalenka as the highest remaining seeds in the women’s draw.
With a few impressive wins in New York, Gauff has a strong opportunity to secure her first grand slam championship.
In the quarterfinals, Sabalenka, the highest ranked player remaining, will compete against up-and-coming Chinese player Zheng Qinwen. Zheng has been performing exceptionally well in this grand slam tournament and recently defeated last year’s finalist Jabeur in straight sets during the round-of-16.
Sabalenka will take over as the world’s top-ranked player on Monday due to Świątek’s unexpected loss, marking the first time in her career that she has held this position. This achievement comes after a remarkable year for Sabalenka, where she claimed three titles, including her first grand slam victory at the Australian Open.
Sabalenka states that she is currently performing at a high level in her tennis game, but acknowledges that there is always room for improvement. She is preparing for a challenging match against Zheng.
“We practiced with her a couple of times,” she told reporters after Monday’s win over Daria Kasatkina. “She’s playing really great tennis. [Her] forehand is really heavy, I would say backhand as well. Serving well. Moving well.
She seems to be taking risks and giving it her all, resulting in her top performance. She displayed excellent skills in her match against Ons – I haven’t seen her other matches, but she’s definitely on top of her game at the moment.
The most challenging aspect is her strong movement and powerful shots. I must prepare myself both physically and mentally for the fact that she will likely hit some winning shots against me during the match.
“I need to prioritize my own performance rather than focusing on my opponent. I believe that if I play my best tennis, I have a shot at winning this match.”
Matias Grez of CNN provided additional coverage.