Super talented American Cori Gauff is anything but a regular 14-year-old tennis player, and she has proved that once again this week at $25,000 Osprey event. This amazing young athlete has chosen tennis over other sports when she was eight and she moved with her family from Atlanta to Florida in order to build her game in the best possible way. Cori, nicknamed Coco, has been chosen by Patrick Mouratoglou to be part of his Champ’seed foundation and she has a chance to work at his amazing academy (she also had a chance to meet her idol Serena Willimas there) and get the additional support during the tournaments, which means a lot to her and her family.
Also, Gauff has forged her game at the New Generation Tennis Academy in Delray Beach, working with Gerard Loglo on her basic preparations and groundstrokes and with only one thing on her mind, to become the greatest player of all time! Cori was destined to become a successful athlete, with her father Corey playing basketball for Georgia State University, and her mother Candi who was a gymnast and ran tracker at Florida State University, and this young girl is already very tall (still growing, of course) and strong enough to battle against much older players.
In November 2017 Gauff turned pro, signing a contract with Team8, and she couldn't wait to turn 14 this March to start her pro career. As we already said, Coco was always in front of her coevals, winning the U12 National Clay Court Championships in 2014 at the age of 10 and the U14 USTA National Selection Tournament in November that year before losing in the semi-final of the U12 Junior Orange Bowl to Whitney Osuigwe.
In 2015 she lost to Noa Krznaric at both Eddie Herr and Orange Bowl, before finally winning Orange Bow in 2016, her last season at the U12 level. The beginning of 2017 was very successful for Gauff, lifting the trophy at the Nike Junior International Bolton event and losing in the semi-final of Les Petits As to Dasha Lopatetskaya in what has been one of the best matches on the junior Tour in recent years.
Competing in only her second main draw on ITF junior level, Cori reached the final of the Prince George’s County International Hard Court Junior Tennis Championships last August before an amazing run at the US Open where she lost in the title match against Amanda Anisimova, still at the age of 13! After turning 14 in March, she could enter ITF pro events (only a reduced number of tournaments in the next couple of years) and her professional debut has come at this week's $25,000 Osprey event at home in Florida.
Starting from the bottom, Cori has defeated three rivals in straight sets to reach the main draw, and just a few hours after she toppled Alice Garcia Cori scored her first win in the main draw against Alexandra Perper to become the first player born in 2004 with pro win! To get a clear picture of how huge this achievement is, it is enough to say Gauff is the only player born in 2004 in the Top 300 of the ITF junior ranking list, and she has hit another milestone here in Osprey, proving her dominance over the players of the same age once again.
Perper fell down 6-2 6-3 in an hour and 22 minutes and it was a rock solid performance from the 14-year-old, losing her serve once at the start of the match and dominating in the rest of the encounter, creating 12 break chances and converting four for the place in the second round.
At one point, Gauff won seven games in a row against the opponent ranked just outside the Top 400 and she served well in the last three service games to bring the match home without a further struggle, setting the second round meeting with Katerina Stewart on Thursday.
It was a slow start for the youngster, who got broken in the opening game of the match, but that was the only break of serve Perper could earn in the entire match, unable to match Gauff's rhythm once her young rival found her range.
Cori broke back in game four after two double faults from Alexandra and she dominated in the rest of the set, winning all six games after that initial setback for a 6-2, sealing it with her third straight break of serve in game eight after additional double faults from Perper.
The Moldovan saved two break points in the second game of the second set to end her drought and she wasted three break points in game three that could turn the things around in her favor. Cori broke in the very next game for a 3-1 lead and that was all she needed to seal the deal and reach the second round, dropping just four points in the last three service games to earn her place in the history books and make the first step on her journey towards the pinnacle of the women's tennis.
With her coevals making their first steps on the junior Tour, Cori Gauff is showing her class against the much older and more experienced pro players, and we will continue to follow her development in the upcoming tournaments as well.