Coco Gauff vows to continue to ‘dream big and aim higher’ after reaching French Open quarter-final

A delighted Coco Gauff

Coco Gauff broke new ground by reaching the quarter-finals of the French Open – and the teenager is hungry for more.

The 17-year-old American caused a sensation when she made the fourth round at Wimbledon two years ago and repeated the feat at the Australian Open in 2020.

Now she has gone one better and, if her form in a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Ons Jabeur is anything to go by, she is a legitimate contender for the title.

Gauff said: “It means a lot to me, especially as I have lost in the fourth round a couple of times, so it feels good to get over that hurdle. Today I played probably my best match so far in the tournament.

“It definitely does feel different. I just feel like it’s been, I guess professional. I feel like all my matches have been straightforward wins, like no crazy three sets and stuff. As we know, I have had a lot of those in the past.

“I just feel like this has been the most consistent tennis I have played at this level. Hopefully I can keep that going.

“In the past, I felt like I was satisfied with the run I made in the tournament, so maybe I came into the matches I guess not as hungry, and I know it’s probably not a good thing to say but it’s the truth.

Coco Gauff on the move

Coco Gauff was in ruthless form against Ons Jabeur (Michel Euler/AP)

“With a lot of young players, I think we tend to get satisfied with, not small results, but certain results before we realise that we can really shoot for more.

“My message has always been ‘dream big and aim higher’. I think that today was honestly coming from that message of aiming higher, because I could have easily said I’m satisfied with fourth round and everything, but today I think I just came in more hungry and wanting more.”

Gauff has been in excellent form on the European clay, winning a title in Parma and rising to a career-high ranking of 25 in the world.

She was dominant in all areas against Tunisian Jabeur but particularly on serve, dropping just nine points on her own delivery in the match to cruise into the last eight.

Gauff’s progress had stalled a little because of a problem with double faults but she has addressed it and is yet to drop a set in singles.

She won the junior title three years ago, and is younger than some of the competitors in that draw, but the main trophy appears within reach.

“I’m really just focused on the match ahead of me,” said Gauff, who has been relaxing by playing the card game UNO with her family.

“I don’t want to think far. Right now I’m focused on going to sleep tonight and winning the next UNO match and then tomorrow we focus back on practice and then get ready for the quarter-finals.”

In the last eight, the teenager will face another first-time slam quarter-finalist – in singles at least – in Czech Barbora Krejcikova.

Barbora Krejcikova delighted

Barbora Krejcikova celebrates her victory over Sloane Stephens (Thibault Camus/AP)

The 25-year-old was even more dominant, beating former finalist Sloane Stephens 6-2 6-0.

Stephens had looked in good form but she made a slow start and never recovered, hitting 26 unforced errors compared to just nine winners.

Krejcikova is better known as a doubles player but she has been climbing the singles ladder and is now on a nine-match winning run after claiming a WTA title in Strasbourg.

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