WTA Linz: 15-year-old Cori Gauff tops Jelena Ostapenko for first WTA crown



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WTA Linz: 15-year-old Cori Gauff tops Jelena Ostapenko for first WTA crown

Competing at only the fifth WTA tournament in young but already colorful career, the 15-year-old Cori Gauff went all the way to claim the first WTA title in Linz. Super talented American defeated Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 in an hour and 39 minutes to become one of the youngest WTA champions ever and the youngest one since Nicole Vaidisova in Tashkent 2004, making incredible progress through the rankings and entering the top-75 on Monday.

Entering the draw as a lucky loser 40 minutes before the first-round clash, Cori passed all the obstacles to write history and earn more records to her already impressive tally, achieving much more than the majority of players who are three or four years older than her.

Gauff won two points more than Ostapenko, suffering four breaks from eight chances offered to the Latvian and stealing the rival's serve five times from ten break points, controlling the pace in sets she won to lift the trophy and prove her quality once again.

The youngster closed the first game with a service winner after fending off two break chances, avoiding an early setback and earning a break in the second game following a backhand error from Ostapenko. An ace pushed the American 3-0 in front, standing strong in her games and moving 5-2 up after another powerful serve that Jelena failed to return.

The youngster closed the opener with a hold at 15 in game nine, hoping for more of the same in the rest of the encounter as she did everything right on the court so far. That all changed in set number two despite the fact she served at 71%, losing ground behind the initial shot completely and giving away 12 out of 14 points to suffer three consecutive breaks that carried Ostapenko over the top.

An ace secured the set for the Latvian in game seven, gathering momentum ahead of the decider where she faded from the court in an even more impressive way. Gauff ended her drought at the beginning of the final set, securing a break in the second game and moving 3-0 in front when Jelena sent a forehand long.

Another forehand error cost Ostapenko another break in game four, allowing Cori to race into a 5-0 lead and offering her two match points in the sixth game. Ostapenko repelled both to avoid an embarrassing bagel and broke at love in the seventh game to prolong the match and stay in contention.

That didn't last for long, though, with Gauff moving over the top with another break in game eight, starting a massive celebration of the first out of many WTA crowns and adding her names to the history books.