US Open: 15-year-old Coco Gauff Continues Sensational Run to Set Up Naomi Osaka Showdown
New York: Fifteen-year-old American sensation Coco Gauff set up an eye-catching US Open showdown with defending champion Naomi Osaka while Rafael Nadal's path to the title eased further Thursday as he received a walkover into the third round.
Reigning Wimbledon champion Simona Halep, meanwhile, crashed out early in New York for a third year running, blowing a match point in a tense three-set loss to 116th-ranked Taylor Townsend.
Gauff, who made a remarkable run to the fourth round at Wimbledon before falling to Halep, defeated Hungarian qualifier Timea Babos 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 to become the youngest player in the last 32 at a US Open since Anna Kournikova in 1996.
"It has been amazing. I'm just so happy to get through," Gauff said as chants of her name rang out around Louis Armstrong Stadium.
The crowd has spoken...🗣🗣🗣🗣🗣🗣🗣🗣@CocoGauff | #USOpen pic.twitter.com/jP9iiZvEDk— US Open Tennis (@usopen) August 30, 2019
"I had to dig really deep today. I'm just proud of the way I fought and I'm glad it was all worth it in the end." Asked about her impending clash with world number one Osaka, Gauff said her primary focus was on Friday's doubles match with 17-year-old partner Caty McNally. "Saturday, I'm going to think about the match, but tomorrow (Friday) I'm worried about my doubles match," she said.
Coco. That’s it. That’s the tweet.#USOpen pic.twitter.com/jZaRKbW3GV — US Open Tennis (@usopen) August 30, 2019
Top seed Osaka proved too strong for 53rd-ranked Magda Linette of Poland, sweeping to a 6-2, 6-4 victory.
"I feel like I had my moments where I played really well," Osaka said. "I think the main thing for me was that I was able to adjust whenever I figured out something was going wrong, so I think I'm heading in the right direction."
Among the celebrities watching her match at Louis Armstrong Stadium were basketball legend Kobe Bryant and former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, whose kneeling protest became a national symbol for champions of social justice and racial equality.