Coco Gauff comes up clutch against Zhang Shuai at US Open. Practice, TikTok and Caroline Garcia next
The Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd appears to have found a new favourite in Coco Gauff as they roared her to victory over Zhang Shuai in the fourth round of the US Open.
With the great Serena Williams bowing out of the tournament and tennis on Friday, spectators on the main showpiece court at Flushing Meadows are eager to find a new hometown hero and Gauff has put her hand up.
The American found herself under the cosh several times against veteran Zhang, but always managed to dig herself out of a hole, eventually winning 7-5, 7-5 in just under two hours.
Having reached her maiden Grand Slam final at Roland Garros in June, Gauff is now also into the quarter-final of the US Open for the first time.
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 4, 2022
The match started with an eight-minute opening game as Zhang held serve and that gave her a boost as she broke the world No 12’s serve in the next game to go 2-1 up. However, her joy was short-lived with the teenager claiming the break back immediately.
Gauff then went 4-3 only for the Chinese player to return the favour in the next game, but when she broke for a third time in game 11, there was no comeback.
Set two was tighter as the first break of serve came in game eight and that resulted in Zhang coming out to serve for the set to take it to a decider, but Gauff – roared on by the crowd – produced an outstanding return game to stay alive in the set.
The 19-year-old then held comfortably before breaking again – this time to love. There were one or two nervy moments as she served it out, but she got over the finish line.
“It feels insane. Ashe Stadium chanting my name, I was trying not to smile on the bench on the last change over as I was trying to stay in the moment, but in my head I was smiling,” Gauff said during her on-court interview. “I can’t believe you guys were chanting like that, it is crazy.”
She will face Caroline Garcia in the last eight after the Frenchwoman defeated Alison Riske-Amritraj, but she will have a bit of free time ahead of Tuesday’s clash.
Asked what she does between matches, the youngster replied: “Usually I play doubles, but we lost so this tournament has been weird for me as I just practice and then scroll on TikTok all day to be honest. I have set some screen time for myself, but I haven’t been following it.”
Garcia reached her first-ever US Open quarter-final with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over 29th seeded American Riske-Amritraj.
“Alison is a very tough player, a great fighter, great mover but I was ready for it,” said 17th seed, who has yet to drop a set at the tournament, said.
“The first set was not great tennis but I managed my emotions better in the rest of the match.”
She added: “I am so excited, it’s been a great few weeks in the US. I am going for my shots and having fun.”
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