Coco Gauff and Naomi Osaka met in the third round for a major for the second successive Slam. Gauff avenged her US Open defeat with a sensational performance Friday night at the Australian Open, defeating the defending champion, 6-3, 6-4. More to come from Joel Drucker.
Osaka in press
"It's just tough. You don't want to lose to a 15-year-old, you know. But I guess that's for me, like, a reality check. It doesn't really matter the age of the opponent. Of course, she deserves to be here. She played her matches. I just have to work harder."
"I don't really have the champion mentality yet, which is, someone that can deal with not playing 100%, you know. And I have always wanted to be like that, but I guess I still have a long way to go."
"Honestly like, what is my life?" Two years ago, I lost first round in juniors. And now I'm here. This is crazy."
"I was telling myself, one point at a time. And just keep fighting. You never know what happens on this court."
On whether she's met Rod Laver:
"No. I've walked past him a couple times in the hallways. I've never really said hi because I'm a little bit nervous. I need a selfie for Instagram." (laughter)
The Rocket soon had a response waiting for Gauff to discover on her phone.
Hello @CocoGauff - congratulations on your incredible victory tonight. I would love to meet you too. ????— Rod Laver (@rodlaver) January 24, 2020
Second set: Gauff clinches the win, 6-4
Osaka forced the teenage sensation to serve out the match on her racquet. Still pumped and poised, Gauff shut the door at love to earn the biggest win of her young career in her debut on Rod Laver Arena.
Second set: Gauff breaks for 4-3
A pair of comfortable holds kept the contest moving at a brisk pace. Gauff has been unafraid to emote throughout thus far. On the contrary, Osaka has been muttering to herself. She produced three straight errors to fall behind 0-40, and two points later, a netted backhand saw her lose serve for the third time. Osaka is eight points from exiting before the second week.
Second set: Osaka leads 2-1
Another loose game from Osaka and consistent ball-striking from the American enabled Gauff to break for 1-0. She led 40-15 on serve, but couldn't consolidate, hitting two double faults in a tense game. Osaka also found two winners and carried that into a routine service hold to get back on track.
First set: Gauff wins 6-3
Both players came out with intent on serve. Gauff, perhaps strategizing to take a bit off hers, made 17 of 18 first serves to start. Osaka won 10 of 11 when hers found the box, resulting in a first-set shootout. Up 4-3, the 15-year-old mixed up her depth and shape to draw three errors from the reigning champion, earning the first break of the match. A brilliant display followed, as she held at love to take a one-set lead after 32 minutes.
Osaka is the defending champion, having captured the 2019 crown over Petra Kvitova. Gauff is the first American woman in 30 years to reach the third round in her first three Grand Slam appearances.