Coco Gauff reached another milestone by defeating Zhang Shuai and reaching her first quarterfinals at the US Open.
The 18-year-old is poised to break into the top 10 for the first time next week and continued her excellent season by beating Zhang 7-5, 7-5 in a top-flight clash at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Gauff has already reached her maiden Grand Slam final this year at the French Open and it would be a compelling tale if she could win her first title in the tournament that eliminated Serena Williams.
There’s still a long way to go, of course, but Gauff is yet to drop a set and showed her competitive maturity in a tough battle with Zhang, winning the last four games and salvaging a set point.
In the last eight, she meets one of the most in-form players in the draw, 28-year-old France’s Caroline Garcia.
Garcia, hailed as future world number one by Andy Murray more than a decade ago, struggled under the weight of expectations to start the season ranked 74th.
She is now 17 after a brilliant summer that included a run to the fourth round of Wimbledon, a win over Emma Raducanu and three titles, most recently at the prestigious WTA event in Cincinnati.
Garcia’s 6-4, 6-1 win over Alison Riske-Amritraj earned her a second Grand Slam quarterfinal of her career, five years after reaching the same stage on home soil at Roland Garros.
“I don’t feel the same person as I did five years ago,” she said. “Of course I learned a lot. I’ve had a tough few years in there. I have gained some experience. We worked hard to get back on top. I’m really happy to be back at this level. I’m really enjoying it.”
Luck appears to have been key to Garcia’s revival, and she was able to laugh after missing four match points in a long final game on Sunday.
“To get wins it definitely helps to be happy, to know how to play, to be healthy,” she said.
“I understand and with my team we see so many things we can still improve, so it gives us a sense to keep improving and keep working hard. It’s a challenge every day and a reward to be here today and I’m grateful for all the hard work we’ve put in.
“I like to play tennis aggressively to progress. I have fun, enjoy playing this way and on top of that I’m glad it works and it’s a good way for me.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/tennis/coco-gauff-caroline-garcia-zhang-shuai-happiness-andy-murray-b2159699.html Coco Gauff secures her place in the quarterfinals of the US Open for the first time