Yet another young American star was is born. After 17-year-old Amanda Anisimova stormed to the French Open semifinals last month, July began with 15-year-old Cori “Coco” Gauff stunning her inspirational hero and 5-time champion Venus Williams 6-4, 6-4 in the first round at Wimbledon.
“I’m super shocked, but I’m just super blessed that Wimbledon decided to give me the wild card,” Gauff said. “I mean, I never expected this to happen.
“Obviously I literally got my dream draw, so I’m just super happy I was able to pull it out today. She played amazing, was just super nice. She’s always been nice the couple times I met her.”
Gauff, who was 24 years the junior to Venus, match and exceeded in terms of power and serving, but the youngster excelled in the speed department and forced Venus into many errors.
Gauff blew a break lead late in the fourth, but gather her nerves to serve it out on her third match point as a Venus forehand found the net.
She becomes the youngest player to win a match at Wimbledon in 18 years since 15-year-old Jennifer Capriati went all the way to the semifinals.
“I said this before: I want to be the greatest,” Gauff said. “My dad told me that I could do this when I was eight. Obviously you never believe it. I’m still, like, not 100% confident, but you have to just say things.
“You never know what happens. If I went into this match saying, ‘Let’s see how many games I can get against her,’ then I most definitely would not have won. My goal was to play my best. My dream was to win. That’s what happened.”
With all the surprising results on Monday and with the weakness of the bottom half, maybe Gauff can make a deep run like Capriati. She’ll now meet 2015 Wimbledon semifinalist Magdalena Rybarikova.
The other big shocker of the day was No. 2 seed Naomi Osaka who tumbled out to new nemesis Yulia Putintseva who beat the Japanese for a third time in straight sets with a 7-6(4), 6-2.
“I’m not going to tell you my secrets,” Putintseva said of her dominance over Osaka.
“Honestly, I think I was able to keep my concentration up high all these three matches. I feel like whenever I am going down with Naomi in bad concentration, she’s straight, like, doing so many winners. I was trying to make it as more uncomfortable for her as possible. That’s the only thing.”
Simona Halep had an early first set scare falling and injuring her left ankle against the upset-minded Aliaksandra Sasnovich. Halep won the first then with the injury fear mounting, she went down 5-2 before soaring back taking the last five games for a tough 6-4, 7-5 win.
“I’m really happy that I could win this match; it was really tough,” said Halep. “The first match of a tournament is always difficult, and I knew she has been playing great. I just had to stay focused, positive, so I could fight to the end.”
She’ll find out later about the injury.
“I feel a little bit. I think it’s a little bit stretched, the muscle behind the knee, and also the Achilles. Hopefully is nothing dangerous and I can recover until the next match,” Halep said.
Karolina Pliskova claimed her sixth straight match after her Eastbourne title. Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki were also winners.
“I think it’s tough to compare with the week in Eastbourne,” Pliskova said. “I think it was quite normal. Of course, it went little bit longer and I almost drop a set. It’s still almost. I played two sets, that’s fine.”
Hampered by a hand injury, french finalist Marketa Vondrousova was bounced by Madison Brengle and No. 10 seed Aryna Sabalenka’s slump continued falling to Rybarikova.
On Tuesday, Serena Williams makes her return. Angelique Kerber, Petra Kvitova, Garbine Muguruza and Sloane Stephens are on court. Ash Barty also makes her debut as a No. 1 at a Grand Slam.
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