The rise of young Coco Gauff

A 15-year-old winning a match at Wimbledon is impressive, but it has happened before. Cori “Coco” Gauff isn’t your typical freshman in high school as she’s coasting through Wimbledon.

Gauff’s Cinderella run continued after she defeated 28-year-old, 60th ranked Polona Hercog 3-6, 7-6 (9-7), 7-5. Gauff rallied back from being down big in the second set and maintained her composure and held off Hercog when she started to rally in the third set. Now, Gauff is in the Round of 16 and she’s the youngest to do it in this millennium.

The story within the story was the match on Friday. Gauff trailed 4-1 in the second set after she double-faulted, ultimately giving Hercog the first set. And right when the moment looked too big for Gauff after being down 6-3, 5-2, she found a way to win the match. The youth, the tenacity, and the grit Coco shows at such a young age rivals her idols, Venus and Serena Williams when they were in their teenage years playing as underdogs.

Friday was her toughest match of the tournament and her longest, lasting more than three hours. Her first two matches against Venus and Rybarikoba were won in straight sets in the first two rounds, so they weren’t as long.

“You can kind of fake it until you make it, but I’m not faking it, at least right now.”

Gauff told reporters after her win on Wednesday.

Gauff wasn’t blessed with an automatic bid into Wimbledon because she had such a low ranking at 212 prior to the tournament. She earned a wild-card spot and played her way into the tournament. Her work thus far in Wimbledon propelled her into the top 150 entering Monday’s Round of 16, where she’ll face the seventh-ranked Simona Halep.

With a win on Monday, she’ll jump into the top 100.

“It just shows if you really work hard, you can get where you want to go,” Gauff added. “Last week, around this time, I didn’t know I was coming here.”

If Gauff continues her run, she’ll get to face her other idol, Serena Williams.

A. Suave Francisco

Founder & Editor-in-Chief. National Association of Black Journalists. University of Central Oklahoma.

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