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On the U.S. Open, Coco Gauff Is Playing With a Veteran’s Confidence


“I used to be really delusional then,” Gauff said of that 2019 match with Osaka. “It was my first U.S. Open, and I assumed I used to be going to exit flying colours. And, yeah, I didn’t.” She added: “I’m definitely comfortable that folks expected things of me, but I believe it’s more focused on my expectations of myself than other people’s.”

After Keys won the opening game of the primary set, Gauff won six of the following seven to take the set. The victory didn’t come as easily because the game differential would indicate, though, as Keys forced Gauff to sprint across the court and hit shots from strenuous angles.

Within the second game, each struggled to secure a win, consistently going from a bonus back to deuce. As Keys forced Gauff to run seemingly in every single place on the court with powerful shots and with Gauff holding the advantage, it seemed as if the sport were heading back to deuce. But Gauff connected on a forehand near the online that landed just behind Keys to take the sport and let loose an emphatic scream as the group roared along with her.

Gauff, one of the popular players in tennis, has had a big crowd advantage through her first two matches, receiving a stadium’s price of roars when she wins and sighs of disappointment when her opponent gets the very best of her. Friday was barely different as the group consistently celebrated Keys, a fellow American. It was a luxury Gauff’s other opponents didn’t enjoy. Three siblings sitting next to one another near the court appeared to be having a match of their very own as one screamed, “Go Madison!” as loudly as possible while one other yelled, “Go, Coco!”

The cheers for Keys faded, though, as she launched a ball and let loose a frustrated scream while the group clapped for Gauff. Then, she bounced back, and so did the group roars, winning that game and the following to bring the whole to 4-3 within the second set. But Keys’s run ended there, and Gauff dominated the rest of the set to win the match.

Gauff and Zhang have faced one another once in singles. Gauff won, 7-6 (1), 7-5, on the Miami Open in March. Last 12 months, they played one another in doubles as Zhang and Samantha Stosur won the U.S. Open women’s doubles title over Gauff and Caty McNally.

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