Coco Gauff is remarkably through to her maiden tour-level WTA final at the tender age of 15 after defeating Germany‘s Andrea Petkovic in the semi-final of the Linz Open.
The teenage sensation secured a 6-4, 6-4 victory to continue her phenomenal breakout year as she became the youngest player to reach a WTA final since Czech Nicole Vaidisova in 2004.
Her feat has been made even more incredible by the fact she only qualified for the tournament as a Lucky Loser, after an injury to former Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber.
— WTA (@WTA) October 12, 2019
Gauff, who is currently ranked 110th in the world, lost the opening two games of the match, but then didn’t look back as she claimed the first set 6-4 before a more straightforward 6-4 second set win to secure her first ever WTA final spot.
‘This is crazy, I thought I was out of the tournament in qualifying,’ said the American.
‘This was one of the highest-level matches I’ve played. Andrea hit a lot of winners and put pressure on me.
‘I was fighting for every point, even at break points down, I just tried to get the serve in and make her play a point.’
Gauff showed real fighting spirit in the final game to serve out for victory, saving three crunch break points and coming through on her second match point.
The Atlanta-born rising star is now set to climb to at least 80th in the rankings next week.
‘This is my first final and first tournament on the WTA ever making it to anything “final” at the end, like quarterfinal or semifinal,’ Gauff also told reporters. ‘Obviously a lot of players play for the grand slams and want to win slams but I think this is a good stepping stone in the right direction.
‘This kind of proves I’m able to hang in on this level and I’m really proud of myself today.’
Gauff stunned the world in the summer when she beat seven-time Grand Slam winner Venus Williams in the first round of Wimbledon on her way to reaching the fourth round of the event.
Gauff will now play former French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia in Sunday’s final.
The youngest-ever winner of a WTA Tour title was two-time US Open champion Tracy Austin, aged just 14, at Portland back in 1977.
Gauff will be hoping to follow suit and write her own name in tennis’ history books this weekend with her first WTA Tour title.
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Cian Cheesbrough