Osaka ends Gauff’s run in third round
American teenager Coco Gauff’s second Grand Slam tournament has ended with a 6-3, 6-0 loss to defending champion Naomi Osaka in the third round of the U.S. Open.
The 15-year-old Gauff has generated all sorts of attention already by making it to the second week at Wimbledon in July and becoming the youngest woman to win two matches at Flushing Meadows since 1996.
But in this much-hyped match under the lights in Arthur Ashe Stadium against the top-seeded Osaka, Gauff often looked exactly like what she still is: an immensely talented player who is still learning her way at tennis’ top level.
She served at up to 119 mph but also double-faulted seven times.
She overcame a slow start to get within 4-3 in the opening set but also then lost the last eight games.
Osaka’s advantages in age – she’s 21 – and experience – she is a two-time major champion – played a role. As did her ontarget power, which resulted in a 24-8 edge in winners.
TOWNSEND KEEPS GOING
American qualifier Taylor Townsend stunned reigning Wimbledon champion Simona Halep on Thursday by rushing to the net 106 times. On Saturday, there was no reason to change what was working.
Townsend, ranked 116th, came to the net 75 times in her 7-5, 6-2 win over Sorana Cirstea in Louis Armstrong Stadium, including 53 times on serve-and-volley points. She reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time.
In her on-court interview after the match, Townsend said she had been surprised to learn how many people had her phone number, based on the congratulations she received on her win over Halep, but had worked to maintain her focus.
“I just tried to keep my head on straight,” Townsend, 23, said. “My coach and I talked about strategy, and just continuing what I did from the last round, and just trying to get better.”
Part of sticking with a strategy of serve-andvolley, Townsend knew, was learning to accept that Cirstea’s powerful passing shots would often go zipping past her, a feeling that can discourage players from continuing to venture forward, particularly on the most pressure-packed points.
“I got passed a lot, but I made a lot as well,” Townsend said. “So I have to continue to do that.”
Cirstea, ranked 106th, attributed her loss less to Townsend’s unusual tactics, which she was prepared for, and more to failing to capitalize on opportunities, such as a 3-1 lead she held in the first set.
“She has a unique game: This is the beauty of tennis,” Cirstea said. “You have to adapt very quick. I think today I started well, I was able to execute what I worked on yesterday, and the plan I had with the coach.”
After beating two Romanian players in a row, Townsend will face a third player with Romanian roots in the fourth round: Bianca Andreescu.
Coco Gauff, right, wipes away tears Saturday while talking to Naomi Osaka after Osaka defeated Gauff at the U.S. Open in New York.