Coco Gauff Equals Serena Williams’ Major Feat



© Darrian Traynor / Stringer – Getty Images Sport

The 19-year-old Coco Gauff is through into her first Australian Open semi-final following a hard-fought 7-6, 6-7, 6-2 victory over another young player Marta Kostyuk. The 4th seed sealed the deal in three hours and eight minutes, moving into the last four.

This win not only extends her impressive winning streak at Majors but also places her in the esteemed company of the legendary Serena Williams. Gauff’s triumph marks her 49th victory at Major events. It’s a remarkable achievement that aligns her with American tennis greats Jennifer Capriati and Serena Williams, becoming the third teenager to achieve such a milestone.

Gauff matched Williams and will catch Capriati if she triumphs in the next round against Aryna Sabalenka or Barbora Krejcikova. To put this in perspective, Serena Williams faced initial challenges in her early Major appearances, not finding her rhythm until the 1999 US Open, where she clinched the title at the age of 17.

Coco Gauff, Australian Open 2024© Darrian Traynor / Stringer – Getty Images Sport

Williams added more notable wins in 2000 and showed her A-game a year later in her final teenage season. Serena reached three consecutive quarter-finals in 2001 before narrowly missing out on the US Open crown, concluding her teenage journey with 49 Major wins.

Now, over two decades later, Coco Gauff replicates this feat, presenting an opportunity to surpass this benchmark in her last Major event before turning 20. Gauff’s Major victories date back to her breakout performance at Wimbledon in 2019 at the age of 15, where she notched three wins, including a standout victory against Venus Williams in R1.

Building on this success, she added four more wins in 2020 and reached the Roland Garros quarter-final at 17 in 2021. Coco’s Major breakthrough came in 2022, reaching the final at Roland Garros and the quarter-final at the US Open, setting the stage for her historic triumph in New York in 2023.

Coco Gauff matched Serena William’s 49 victories at Majors as a teen.

The young gun reached her third consecutive Roland Garros quarter-final at 19 and went all the way at home in New York, lifting the trophy and writing history books.

With her current streak of 12 consecutive Major victories, Coco Gauff stands on the cusp of a remarkable milestone, poised to surpass Serena Williams and Jennifer Capriati, etching her name even deeper into the annals of tennis history.

Coco had to work hard to remain on the title course in Melbourne, with her and Marta spraying over 100 unforced errors at Rod Laver Arena, including 17 double faults. Those loose strokes drew whooping 36 break points, with Gauff defending seven out of 14 and seizing nine out of 22.

Coco had the upper hand in the shortest and mid-range rallies, and Marta responded in the most extended ones, finishing with six points fewer than her rival. The opening two sets required two hours and 20 minutes, with two rivals turning it into an open war.

Coco Gauff, Australian Open 2024© Cameron Spencer / Staff – Getty Images Sport

Kostyuk survived two challenging service games in the opener and grabbed a couple of breaks to forge a massive 5-1 advantage. Gauff pulled one break back in game seven, defended a set point on serve at 2-5 and erased another break in game nine to return to the positive side.

The American grabbed her fifth consecutive game for a 6-5 lead, serving for the opener before losing serve again, adding more drama. It went on through the tie break, with Coco saving another set point at 5-6 and clinching it 8-6.

They traded early breaks in the second set and clinched four in a row later, with Gauff failing to serve out for the set at 5-3. Kostyuk kept fighting, earning that necessary late break and clinching the tie break 7-3 to level the overall score and improve her chances.

However, Coco shifted into a higher gear in the decider, opening a 5-0 advantage and sealing it 6-2 for a place in her first Australian Open semi-final.



Source link: https://www.tennisworldusa.org/tennis/news/WTA_Tennis/142022/teen-titans-coco-gauff-equals-serena-williams-major-feat/

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