Coco Gauff underlined her credentials as one of the US Open title favourites with a gutsy victory over Caroline Wozniacki to reach the quarter-finals. The 19-year-old American had to come from a break down in the third set to win 6-3 3-6 6-1. Sixth seed Gauff is bidding for a first Grand Slam title.
The victory also ended Wozniacki’s extraordinary comeback run after a three-and-a-half-year absence from the sport. Gauff arrived at her home Grand Slam full of confidence after title wins in Washington and Cincinnati.
Her fine form looks set to continue as she showed great resilience to fight back in the third set and register an impressive win against a resilient Wozniacki. Gauff joked afterwards that her father can no longer sit in her support box because he gets too nervous during matches.
“He’s been doing laps around the stadium,” she said. “I don’t know if he can hear me but I felt his good energy even if I couldn’t see him.” Gauff will face either defending champion Iga Swiatek or former French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko next. ‘Can’t deny that presence’ – home hope Shelton reaches quarters.
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Broken in her opening service game, Gauff was able to overcome a nervy start to level the scores at 2-2 before getting the decisive break to lead 5-3 and serve out the opener on the third set point.
Despite saving five break points in the second set, a frustrated Gauff eventually conceded serve to trail 5-3 and allow Wozniacki to take the fourth-round tie to a decider.
The teenager found herself a break down once again at the start of third and directed her frustration towards her coaching team, shouting at them to stop talking to her. The home favourite channelled her energy well, overturning the deficit and breaking Wozniacki to take control of the match, all the time roared on by the crowd inside Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Since her disappointing first-round exit at Wimbledon in July, Gauff has lost just one of her past 16 matches and is currently on a nine-match winning streak. The world number six has only reached one Grand Slam singles final before – the 2022 French Open, where she lost 6-1 6-3 to Swiatek.
The top seed could be Gauff’s quarter-final opponent if the Pole beats Ostapenko later on Sunday, but former British number one Annabel Croft says the American has “put herself in the best possible position” to beat Swiatek. “I think this was a great test for her. She had to really fight and be physical,” Croft added.
“She had to go toe-to-toe and I think the quality of the tennis and the ball striking was phenomenal.”
The loss marks the end of an incredible run for Wozniacki as she returned to a Grand Slam tournament for the first time since the 2020 Australian Open. Wozniacki retired three years ago to start a family and was heavily pregnant with her second child during last year’s US Open. However, she returned to the WTA Tour last month, with Gauff remarking it is like the Dane “never left”.
“The level that she’s played today is really amazing,” Gauff said. “She’s been an inspiration for me growing up.” The former world number one – a two-time US Open runner-up – said afterwards she was exactly where she wants to be.
“There’s a lot of positives to take with me going forward. I’m on the right track,” Wozniacki said. “I’m finding my form, I’m finding my feet. I’m excited to take on more events and more players.”
Elsewhere on Sunday, 10th seed Karolina Muchova set up a quarter-final encounter with Sorana Cirstea of Romania after defeating China’s Wang Xinyu 6-3 5-7 6-1. For world number 30 Cirstea, who beat Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic 6-3 6-3, it will be a first appearance in the last eight of a Grand Slam since the 2009 French Open.