Defending Champion Naomi Osaka Stops Run of Teen CoCo Gauff to Advance to Fourth Round of US Open
(August 31, 2019) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – World No. 1 and defending champion Naomi Osaka ended 15-year-old CoCo Gauff’s run at the US Open with a dominating 6-3, 6-0 win in the third round in Arthur Ashe stadium to lead off the night session.
Osaka has now won 17 straight matches at hard court majors – 7 at last year’s US Open, 7 at the Australian Open, and three at the current US Open.
By winning two matches, Gauff became the youngest woman to reach the third round since 1996.
Gauff made a run to the fourth round of Wimbledon in July, beating Venus Williams in the first round and eventually losing to the champion Simona Halep.
The first set of the match go back and forth with multiple breaks of serve.
Osaka’s experience showed during the match and she took control in the middle of the first set winning eight straight games to close out the match from 4-3 up.
Although Gauff’s serve was as high as 119 mph, she also double-faulted seven times.
Errors also crept into the youngster’s game, making a total of 24 unforced errors versus Osaka’s 24 winners.
Despite being broken a couple of times in the first set, the woman who represents Japan won 74% of points on her first serve compared Gauff to 42%
“I think she played amazing,” Gauff said. “It was hard for me to take control of the points. Obviously, I think she had way more winners than I did. It was hard to kind of control the rallies.
“But I think I’ll learn a lot from this match. She’s the No. 1 player in the world right now, so I know what I need to do to get to that level.
“After the match, I think she just proved that she’s a true athlete. For me the definition of an athlete is someone who on the court treats you like your worst enemy but off the court can be your best friend. I think that’s what she did tonight.”
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 1, 2019
At the end of her match, Osaka consoled a tearful Gauff and invited her to be part of the on-court interview with ESPN.
“I definitely was wanting to leave the court because I’m not the type of person who wants to cry in front of everyone,” Gauff said to media. “I didn’t want to take that moment away from her, as well.
“She told me it’s better than crying in the shower. She convinced me, like, multiple times to stay. I kept saying no. Finally I said, Okay, I’ll do it. Because I didn’t know what to do.
“I’m happy that she kind of convinced me to do it because, I mean, I’m not used to crying in front of everyone.”
Osaka said what she did after the match was instinctive.
“When I shook her hand, I saw that she was kind of tearing up a little. Then it reminded me how young she was.
“For me, at least when I lose, I just come into the locker room and I cry, then I do press, like, here. I love you guys, but it’s not the greatest (smiling). Then I was thinking normal people don’t actually watch the press conferences unless they’re, like, fan fans.
“The people that are out there, they’re probably going to just stay and watch the next person who’s playing, then they go home, and they wouldn’t know immediately what’s on her mind.
“I was just thinking, like, it would be nice for her to address the people that came and watched her play. They were cheering for her.”
Gauff, who is still in the doubles with Caty McNally, talked about what she is most proud of from her summer at the majors: “Probably the way that I’ve been handling it all. I mean, I guess coming into this, I knew that a lot more people were watching me at Wimbledon, expecting things from me. I think I try my best to zone out everyone, and just focus on me.
“I think a lot of people just forget that I’m new to this, I’m still learning, and I’m still improving. I think a lot of people came in here with a lot of expectation, just not even this tournament, but after Wimbledon in general.
“I felt, I guess, between Washington and then maybe a week before US Open, I felt pressure to kind of just prove myself. I think maybe like three or four days before my first match, I think I kind of realized I just need to have fun out there. Whatever happens happens. But as long as I have fun, that’s important for me.”
Gauff talked about getting to the next level after playing the world No. 1: “Today’s match I think she was really attacking the ball well. She hit a lot of winners today. I didn’t hit as many as I can. I think that I can trust my strokes more.
“I think she trusts her strokes a lot, so that’s why she hits winners. In order to hit a winner, you have to trust that you’re going to do it. I think I can work on that more.
“Other than that, I mean, I think my first serve, I could get it in more today. I was having trouble holding serve. I think once I get past that hump, I’ll start to improve a lot more.”
Osaka will be playing Belinda Bebcic of Switzerland in the next round. Bencic leads the head-to head match up 2-1.
“For me playing her is always super challenging. I’m unsure if I’ve ever won a match. I know that I lost the two times we played earlier this year.
“For me, yeah, I just expect a fight. She doesn’t really ever give up. She kind of fights for every point. I know that’s going to be a really difficult match for me.”