LONDON (Reuters) – Seventeen-year-old American Coco Gauff matched her dream Wimbledon debut as she again reached the fourth round with a 6-3 6-3 defeat of Kaja Juvan on Saturday.
Gauff, the 23rd seed, stormed through the opening games with a barrage of power serves on Centre Court but was asked some awkward questions by 102nd-ranked Juvan.
As she often does, Gauff had all the answers as she reached the second week and a last-16 clash with Germany’s former Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber.
“It’s a good feeling to be on this court and I’m super honoured that the tournament allows me to play on it. It’s not often a 17-year-old gets to play here!” Gauff, who has become a darling of the Wimbledon crowds, said on court.
“I wasn’t as nervous as in my second round match — the fans always bring the energy on Centre Court.”
When Gauff reached the fourth round as a 15-year-old qualifier in 2019, beating one of her idols Venus Williams en route, it was something of a sensation.
Two years later, despite her age and playing in only her seventh Grand Slam tournament, Gauff’s progress is far less of a surprise and she is now a serious title contender.
She reached her first Grand Slam quarter-final at Roland Garros last month and has played with supreme confidence and calmness to claim three straight-sets wins here so far.
Gauff raced into a 5-1 lead against Juvan in 18 minutes but briefly went off the boil as she lost the next two games with a few errors creeping in.
After winning the opening set she had to fend off break points at the start of the second before establishing a lead.
Slovenian Juvan fought tenaciously to try and throw Gauff off her stride, but it was a hopeless task against a player who already plays with the maturity of a seasoned pro.
Gauff went 40-0 ahead as she served at 5-3 and although Juvan saved a couple of match points she whacked a forehand long on the third one to hand Gauff victory.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ros Russell and Hugh Lawson)