The Wimbledon story of Coco Gauff came to a crashing end Monday at Wimbledon. The 15-year-old was no match for former No. 1 Simona Halep who beat Gauff 6-3, 6-3 in 75 minutes.
“I think it was a great match. She has potential to be a very good player soon,” said Halep.
“12 years ago I was at juniors. It’s a huge thing that she’s able to play in the fourth round of Wimbledon. It’s a great performance. I think if she keeps going, she will be Top 10 soon.”
With her penetrating groundstrokes and steady play, Halep broke Gauff early and again in the second to build a 2-0 lead. Gauff got back to even at 2-all but with hopes of another comeback rising, Halep squashed them by serving it out untroubled.
“I think she has a very strong backhand. Also, the serve is pretty tough. She’s moving very well. She’s tall, so is not easy to move that fast,” Halep said.
“She will be a very tough opponent for everybody. If she keeps doing what she did here, she’s going to get a lot of confidence and she can win big tournaments soon.
“I think it’s a good thing, a positive thing, for the tennis because the juniors can see that everything is possible. They can get motivated. They get confident there is a chance for everybody. What she’s doing, she’s doing great.”
Gauff will still move into the Top 140 and showed she is a future star.
“I learned a lot. I learned how to play in front of a big crowd. I learned what it was like to be under pressure. I learned a lot and I’m really thankful for this experience,” Gauff said.
“I had a lot of fun. I still had fun out on the court today even though I was losing. I don’t know how to describe how I feel now because, like, the match is still freshly new. We’ll see how I feel in a couple hours.”
Halep will now get Shaui Zhang after the Chinese eliminated 19-year-old Dayana Yastremska. Zhang, who was 0-5 at Wimbledon entering the event, beat Halep at the Australian Open a few years ago.
Seeded seventh, Halep ended the day as the highest seed left in the field after more upsets hit the Wimbledon courts.
World No. 1 Ash Barty saw her 15-match win streak snapped by American grass specialist Alison Riske 3-6, 6-2, 6-2. Barty was strong on her serve early, but in the end Riske’s better attacking and play on grass was the difference.
“I’m so thrilled,” said Riske. “I think honestly the biggest key for me has just been to battle from start to finish of every match that I’ve been a part of. Judging by the scoreline, they haven’t all gone perfect.
“I feel like I’ve been there in every moment, looking to impose myself. I’m really most proud about that. I think just being tough has been the key.”
Despite the loss, Barty will keep No. 1.
“I think I started well, I was sticking to how I wanted to play,” Barty said. “Then in the second set, I think my serve let me down. I let Alison get back into the match too many times, having looks at second serves.
“Overall I didn’t play a poor match. When I needed to, when the big moments were there, Alison played better today. Tough one to swallow but I lost to a better player.”
Riske moves into her first Grand Slam quarterfinal where she’ll meet for a first time 7-time champion Serena Williams. The 37-year-old Williams barreled into the quarters beating up on Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2, 6-2.
“The is rust definitely wearing off,” Serena said. “Most of all I feel confident that I can actually move and I don’t have to go for winners so soon because I’m in pain.
“It’s like, ‘Oh, now I can just play my game, hit shots, not have to worry about anything else.’ It’s good when your mind is clear and you can just play.”
If Serena gets by Riske, a potential semifinal foe could be Johanna Konta. The British No. 1 upended 2-time champion Petra Kvitova in three sets on Centre Court 4-6, 6-2, 6-4. It was Konta’s second straight comeback win over a Top 10 player after edging Sloane Stephens on Saturday.
“Overall I’m just pleased that I competed well,” said Konta. “Towards the end I thought I had good perspective because [Kvitova] started playing very freely. I mean, the balls were coming through quick. Just happy I was able to keep a good perspective and just enjoy competing against her, because she’s very tough to play on this surface. I’m really pleased with that.”
Konta now collides with Czech Barbora Strycova who knocked out Elise Mertens in three sets. The Belgiun led 6-4, 5-2 but with a back issue, she couldn’t close it out. The 33-year-old Strycova advanced 4-6, 7-5, 6-2.
Elina Svitolina made her first Wimbledon quarterfinal after a tough win over an ailing Petra Martic 6-4, 6-2. She’ll now get Wimbledon debutante Karolina Muchova and fended off third-seeded countrywoman Karolina Pliskova 4-6, 7-5, 13-11 in 3 hours, 17 minutes.
“I never played such a long match, I think not even on clay,” Muchova said. “It was tough. I was happy I could make last game to break her and we didn’t have to play a tiebreak.”
Pliskova, who won Eastbourne, served for the match in the third at 5-4 and again at 11-10. The 22-year-old Muchova is enjoying her best run as a pro.
“I think I had a lot of chances, for sure,” Pliskova said. “I think I was not playing the best tennis, for sure, not today. My serve was quite off. I think she just played good. She had nothing to lose, so some shots were quite understandable. She just went for it. A little bit unlucky, but that’s how it is.”
TUESDAY WIMBLEDON SCHEDULE
CENTRE COURT – 1:00PM
Alison Riske v Serena Williams
Barbora Strycova v Johanna Konta
Andy Murray / Serena Williams v Fabrice Martin / Raquel Atawo
NO.1 COURT – 1:00PM
Simona Halep v Shuai Zhang
Elina Svitolina v Karolina Muchova
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