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Wimbledon: Cori Gauff saves two match points to set up fourth round clash with Halep - 'It's just crazy'

Andrew Hendrie in WTA Tour 6 Jul 2019
  • Gauff saves two match points to edge Hercog in three sets
  • The 15-year-old goes on to face former No. 1 Halep in the R16
Cori Gauff (PA Images)

Cori ‘Coco’ Gauff wrote another chapter in her glittering Wimbledon debut on Friday, saving two match points to outlast Polona Hercog and advance into a fourth round showdown with former World No. 1 Simona Halep.

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After becoming the youngest Wimbledon qualifier in the Open Era and stunning five-time champion Venus Williams and 2017 semi-finalist Magdalena Rybarikova in straight sets in the first two rounds, Gauff faced her first bit of adversity against 60th-ranked Hercog in her first match on Centre Court, falling behind 3-6 2-5 as the Slovenian served for the match.

Hercog hadn’t lost a point behind her first serve all match, but Gauff saved her best tennis when she needed it most, saving a match point with a brilliant backhand slice winner that skidded off the line before breaking her opponent and levelling the scores. The 15-year-old went on to dig out the ensuing tiebreak and took advantage of a nervous Hercog deep into the decider as the Slovenian hit consecutive unforced errors off her forehand side to hand Gauff match point, which she took at the first time of asking as Hercog hit a lob long.

The victory prompted wild celebrations back home at Gauff’s father’s bar in Delray Beach, where a large crowd had gathered to watch the match.



At two hours and 46 minutes, it was easily Gauff’s longest match of the tournament as she prevailed by a 3-6, 7-6(7), 7-5 scoreline to make the second week of a major on debut.

Cori Gauff (PA Images)
"Even when I was down match point, the people in the crowd were behind me every step of the way," Gauff said after the match. "That's something I really appreciated during the match.
"I don't know, it's just crazy. I remember before I played Venus [Williams], as you know, when you walk to leave the practice courts, there are people waiting. One little kid asked me for a picture. Then after the next day, after I played Venus, everybody was screaming my name. It was pretty surreal how life changes in a matter of seconds."

Gauff will look to extend her historic Wimbledon run in the fourth round on Manic Monday when she comes up against a top 10 player for the first time, facing former No. 1 Simona Halep for a place in the quarter-finals.

The American, who was taking science exams last week in conjunction with qualifying for Wimbledon, says she knows what to expect from Halep despite having never played or trained with the Romanian.

"I watch her a lot obviously," Gauff said. "I've never hit with her or anything or practiced with her. I don't know how the ball would feel when I actually play, but I'm really familiar how she plays just from watching her a lot."

Gauff is set to rise into the top 200 courtesy of her run to the fourth round, and even if she loses to Halep, the teenager will pocket a minimum £174,000.

With career prize money of £60,000 before this week, that’s a nice little increase in pocket money. But how will Gauff spend her earnings?

"I can't buy a car because I can't drive," she said. "Maybe I'm going to buy some hoodies."


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Wimbledon: Cori Gauff saves two match points to set up fourth round clash with Halep - "It's just crazy"

Cori ‘Coco’ Gauff wrote another chapter in her glittering Wimbledon debut on Friday, saving two match points to outlast Polona Hercog and advance into a fourth round showdown with former World No. 1 Simona Halep.

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