Coco Gauff cruises past Madison Keys in US Open third round

Serena Williams is the story of the 2022 U.S. Open, however Coco Gauff is exhibiting she will be the American lady who picks up the torch. 

Gauff on Friday cruised into the Spherical of 16 for the primary time on the U.S. Open, and {the teenager} did it with a complete 6-2, 6-3 throttling of fellow American star Madison Keys, to whom she’d misplaced earlier this 12 months. 

“Yeah, I used to be positively impressed on how I performed,” stated Gauff, who will subsequent face Shuai Zhang of China. “Maddie is just not a simple opponent. I misplaced to her in Adelaide. I discovered rather a lot about that match. I used to be like, ‘If I lose, I’m not going to lose the identical approach.’ I used to be actually simply making an attempt to take my floor once I might. It’s not straightforward to do this in opposition to her. However I’m fairly proud of how I performed.” 

She ought to be. So ought to American tennis followers, who’re dealing with the truth of 23-time Grand Slam champion Williams — who took the Arthur Ashe Stadium courtroom Friday night time after Gauff and Keys — stepping away from the sport. Williams will go away some large sneakers to fill. 

Coco Gauff superior to the U.S. Open fourth spherical.

Then once more, Gauff is the one ladies’s participant together with her personal signature sneaker. And Friday, the 18-year-old confirmed not simply her typical athleticism, pace and courtroom protection, but additionally an impressively cerebral recreation. After clinching her victory, she let loose a yell — way more animated than regular — and pointed at her temple. And it’s the way in which she’s utilizing that head in current months that’s so encouraging. 

“In my tennis, I used to be shedding my id on the courtroom. I used to be very confused about how I needed to play,” Gauff stated. “I received a brand new coach. He helped me rather a lot discover my id and the way I need to play. So credit score to him for that.” 

Keys took it to Gauff because the aggressor to safe a three-set win this previous January in Adelaide, Australia. Gauff discovered her lesson from that loss. This time, she wasn’t simply quicker than her Twentieth-seeded good friend and compatriot, however she was savvier and smarter as properly. 

As a substitute of simply counting on her legs and quickness to bail her out of bother, Gauff is studying to weaponize them. They usually proved an excessive amount of for Keys on this rematch. 

“In January, I used to be relying an excessive amount of on my pace as a result of, in opposition to lower-ranked gamers, I might get away with simply getting the ball again,” Gauff stated. “Taking part in increased gamers, energy hitters, I’m like, ‘OK, that’s not working anymore.’ 

“Now, I’m utilizing it as a weapon, not a lot as a protection mechanism; utilizing it to aggressively get to the balls, to assault the web, as an alternative of utilizing it to run side-to-side. Sure, I nonetheless use it to do this. That’s tennis; you possibly can’t assist it. I feel it actually modified my mentality on how I’m utilizing my athleticism. I’m not counting on it anymore. Now, I’m making an attempt to make use of it as a weapon.” 

Madison Keys swings during her loss to Coco Gauff.
Madison Keys swings throughout her loss to Coco Gauff.

Gauff — who has reached the fourth spherical at Wimbledon and the Australian Open, in addition to the French Open quarterfinals — had by no means gotten previous the third spherical on the U.S. Open, together with her exit three years in the past in opposition to Naomi Osaka ending in tears. 

“I positively discovered rather a lot from that have,” Gauff stated. “I used to be placing a lot strain on myself. I used to be actually simply new to the scene. I used to be actually delusional then. It was my first U.S. Open, and I believed I used to be going to exit in flying colours, and I didn’t. I’m positively completely happy that folks anticipate large issues of me, however [now] I deal with my expectations on myself than different individuals’s.” 

After Keys broke her proper out of the gate, Gauff broke proper again in a 12-point recreation. It ended with a 12-stroke rally, with Gauff’s forehand passing shot for the winner with Keys drawn as much as the web. 

Gauff went on to win 4 straight video games, and it set the tone for the night time.

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