Wimbledon, England — Coco Gauff keeps making history at Wimbledon. With a three-set win over Polona Hercog on Friday, the 15-year-old phenom from Delray Beach, Florida, is on her way to the Round of 16, CBS Sports writes.
The back and forth match was the first time Gauff went the distance at her first Wimbledon, and she saved two match points in the second set to remain in the draw.
"Right now, I'm just super-relieved that it's over," said Gauff, who will face former No. 1 Simona Halep in the fourth round Monday. "I always knew that I could come back, no matter what the score is."
Most players, no matter the age, would not be able to find their way out of that sort of a deficit on this imposing a stage, would not be able to handle that sort of stress and figure out a way. Gauff is, quite clearly, not most players. That much has been established. How far can she go, both this fortnight and in the future? The tennis world is watching, waiting to find out.
As it is, Gauff was the youngest player to qualify for Wimbledon in the professional era, winning three matches last week against higher-ranked women in the preliminary rounds. Then, by upsetting five-time champion Venus Williams, who is 39, in the first round of the main event, Gauff became the youngest woman to win a match at the All England Club since 1991, when Jennifer Capriati reached the semifinals at 15.
Next came a win against 2017 Wimbledon semi finalist Magdalena Rybarikova, who is 30. Against Hercog, who is ranked 60th and is now 0-4 in third-round matches at majors, Gauff dropped a set for the first time this tournament, then trailed 5-2 in the second.
With Gauff serving at 30-40, Hercog was a point from victory. But the teen conjured up a backhand slice winner that dropped right on the chalk. "I'm happy that the slice down the line went in," Gauff said later.
After her aggressive style paid off Friday, it was Hercog who really went into a shell, playing so cautiously and making mistake after mistake. A big one came when Hercog served for the match at 5-3 and held her second match point: She double-faulted. They would play for another 1½ hours. Hercog would never again get that close to winning. Gauff didn't let her.
"It was so dramatic. What an occasion," Grand Slam champion Tracy Austin said on BBC. "To get to the second week in your first major is absolutely incredible. The concentration and focus from both ladies was incredible."
"It was almost sweeter the way she was able to come back from two match points. To come back form such a huge deficit, to be able to change her game, and to keep her wits about her," he added. "Everyone will remember it."