15-year-old sensation Coco Gauff’s fairytale Australian Open run ended by Sofia Kenin in the last-16
- Coco Gauff’s Australian Open run has ended with defeat in the fourth-round
- She was bidding to be the youngest player in Grand Slam quarter-final in 15 years
- 14th seed Sofia Kenin triumphed despite dropping the first set 6-7, 6-3, 6-0
One former tennis prodigy from Florida defeated a present one when fourteenth seed Sofia Kenin brought the run of Coco Gauff to an end with 6-7, 6-3, 6-0 victory in the fourth-round.
As so often seen in tennis, following up a big win is not easy and 15-year-old Gauff found the going much tougher against a player who has yet to quite fulfill the great things that were once expected of her.
For Kenin, 21 and ranked 15, it will be a first Grand Slam quarter-final, after avoiding the amount of errors that helped Gauff defeat defending champion Naomi Osaka in the previous round.
Coco Gauff’s brilliant Australian Open run has ended in defeat at the last-16 stage
Gauff was bidding to become the youngest player in a Grand Slam quarter-final in 15 years
The teenager looked tired towards the end, and made a total of 48 unforced errors that included seven double faults.
It still amounts to an impressive start in the 15 year-old’s Grand Slam career, who has reached the fourth-round twice and the third-round in her three Majors.
She will be 16 by the time of her next two, the French Open and Wimbledon.
The 15-year-old was bidding to become the youngest player to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final for 15 years, and she was one set away when she took the opener on a packed Melbourne Arena.
But 14th seed Kenin had other ideas, eventually wearing down Gauff in three sets.
The 21-year-old has had her own speedy rise, although without the attention of Gauff’s, and will play in the last eight of a Grand Slam for the first time.
Gauff embraces the 14th seed, Sofia Kenin, at the net after defeat on Melbourne Arena
Gauff claimed the first set but was beaten in three, eventually losing 6-7, 6-3, 6-0
Kenin said: ‘It was such a tough match, she’s such a tough player, all respect to her.
‘It means a lot to me, I’m so happy to be through to the next round. I just tried to play my game, fight for every point and not focus on anything else.’
Gauff’s victory over defending champion Naomi Osaka was on paper certainly the best of her fledgling career but, so poor had the Japanese been, it was difficult to gauge how well the teenager had actually played.
Kenin, who knocked out Serena Williams at the French Open last summer, is a feisty competitor and a good tactician, and it was she who made the more solid start to open up a 4-2 lead.
But Gauff worked her way into the contest, gradually making her extra power count and forcing Kenin on to the back foot.
The 21-year-old Kenin will now play in a Grand Slam quarter-final for the first time in her career
Gauff was hitting her second serve faster than Kenin was sending down her first – only two women have served faster than Gauff this tournament – and the teenager exploited some loose play from her opponent to level at 4-4.
Gauff had one set point at 5-6, which was saved well by Kenin, but two double faults in the tie-break were costly for the 14th seed and, although she saved three more set points, Gauff composed herself superbly to take the fourth.
The turning point came when Gauff double-faulted three times to drop serve in the fourth game of the second set and from there Kenin pulled away.