American teenage sensation Cori ‘Coco’ Gauff has fought back from the brink to advance to the third round of the Australian Open and set-up a showdown with Naomi Osaka.
Gauff reached the third round on her Australian Open, debut after the 15 year-old American defeated Romanian veteran Sorana Cirstea in a thrilling three-set clash.
The youngest player in the draw fought back against a woman almost twice her age, the 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 victory coming after her first-round win over Venus Williams.
Fans couldn’t believe the excitement and maturity Gauff showed when trailing the Romanian in the third-set.
I believe Coco Gauff will win a major before she turns 18.— Reginald Parks (@TheReggieParks) January 22, 2020
She's 15 now.
Great Comeback! Coco Gauff is getting better every time I see her. #AusOpen— Lou William (@BeatzbyREI) January 22, 2020
Coco Gauff has nerves of steal. Set down, holds her nerve, 5-5 in the decider, gets the break. Roll on third round 💪🏾— Langa (@_Langaman) January 22, 2020
Coco Gauff our tennis princess 😭🥺— Nella Zuniga (@ornellazuniga) January 22, 2020
Down after the first set, the teen star lifted her aggression to level up the match.
But the world No.67 soon found herself down 3-0 in the decider.
Whipping up the crowd, who appeared largely in her corner, she brought the match back to parity largely off her powerful forehand and some successful forays to the net.
She broke the 29-year-old, who was playing in her 12th Open, in the 11th game and then served out the match.
She will now play third seed and defending champion Naomi Osaka for a place in the last 16.
"I played her at the US Open (last year) and I know what to expect," she said of the one-sided clash which ended in Osaka's favour 6-3 6-0.
"She's a great player ... I think it is going to be a good one."
In just her third major, Gauff captured the imaginations of tennis fans with her run to the fourth round at Wimbledon last year.
She backed that up with a third-round showing in New York and would likely break into the top 50 with an upset win over Osaka.