Gauff ready to carry Serena's legacy. This in-form teen heads into the US Open with hopes of landing her first Grand Slam title.

NEW YORK  : One year after Serena Williams bade an emotional farewell to tennis in front of an adoring crowd at Flushing Meadows, Coco Gauff is dreaming of continuing the 23-time Grand Slam champion's legacy when the US Open gets under way next week.

The 19-year-old from Florida, who grew up idolizing the now retired Williams, heads into the New York showpiece with realistic hopes of landing her first Grand Slam title after an impressive run of results in the WTA Tour's North American hardcourt swing.

She won her second title of the season at the Washington Open in early August and then followed an encouraging run to the quarter-finals of the Canadian Open with a breakthrough victory in Cincinnati last weekend her first WTA 1000 title.

That win in Cincinnati also included a semi-final victory against world number one and reigning US Open champion Iga Swiatek - the first time Gauff has beaten the Polish four-time Grand Slam singles champion in eight meetings.

Gauff's form over the past month suggests that the teenager is finally ready to deliver in the demanding crucible of a Grand Slam tennis tournament, four years after she announced herself on the world stage with a scintillating run to the fourth round of Wimbledon as a 15-year-old qualifier.

The world number six says her recent success has been built on learning how to grind our victories even when she is not playing her best tennis.

'' I think that's what makes a champion - how you're doing on the days you aren't feeling so great, '' she said after her win in Cincinnati.

Gauff later revealed she spent '' a lot of nights at home crying '' earlier in the season as she struggled to discover her best form.

'' For me, it was just difficult because I knew what I needed to improve,'' Gauff said.

'' I was going to practice and I was working on it. It just wasn't translating into the matches. It still can get a lot better, the things I want to improve.''

If Gauff's upward trajectory continues over the next fortnight, there is every chance she can become only the fifth Black women to win US Open in the Open era, following in the footsteps of Serena and Venus Williams, Sloane Stephens and Naomi Osaka. [AFP]


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!