14-year-old Cori Gauff shifts her junior form to the pro circuit once again



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14-year-old Cori Gauff shifts her junior form to the pro circuit once again

Two weeks after becoming the fourth youngest Roland Garros junior champion (Cori was the only player born in 2004 in the draw and she joined Martina Hingis, Jennifer Capriati and Gabriela Sabatini in the record books) the 14-year-old Cori Gauff is back on the professional Tour and she managed to qualify for the main draw of the $25,000 Baton Rouge event at the Louisiana State University to enter her second pro main draw in a career.

A month ago, Gauff wrote history as the first player born in 2004 with the professional win when she defeated Alexandra Perper at $25,000 Osprey tournament and she repeated that success in Baton Rouge as well, winning three qualifying round matches and ousting another qualifier Hayley Carter 6-3 1-6 6-3 in two hours and 16 minutes for her second pro win. 23-year-old Carter is a former North Carolina University star and one of the best Collegiate players of the last 20 years and she works as an Assistant Coach at the Oklahoma State University, playing only sporadically on the women's Tour.

She fought well against the youngster, though, dominating in the second set but failing to keep that pace in the decider when Gauff restored the order to take the win. Cori had just one ace and 10 double faults but she saved eight out of 14 break points, creating enough room on the return to erase this deficit and cross the finish line first.

She pushed Hayley to the limits on the second serve return and broke her six times from nine break chances, prevailing in the most important points of the deciding set to notch another impressive win over much older and experienced rival.

Gauff went off the blocks in perfect style, holding with ease twice and breaking Carter in game two for a 3-0 lead. Hayley got the break back in game five and she saved a break point in the following game to get back on track completely and level the score at 3-3.

Still, it was Cori who had the edge in the second part of the set, winning seven points in a row to move 5-3 ahead and closing the set after saving a break point in game nine. The second set lasted just 30 minutes and Hayley took charge, holding at love in the opening game and breaking Cori in game two despite four game points that the youngster had, Gauff broke back in game three but that was all we saw from her in this part of the match, winning just three of the last 19 points and allowing Carter to race towards the finish line and take a set 6-1.

Hayley won the last 10 points of the set and she was the favorite before the start of the decider where she also built an early lead. Gauff got broken in the first game after having game points and she found herself 2-0 down after a hold at love from Carter who rattled off the last six games to move closer to a triumph.

As many times before, Cori simply refused to surrender and she broke back in game four to get back on the level terms and she did a marvelous job in game five when she saved three break points to move 3-2 in front, prevailing in one of the crucial moments of the entire match.

Carried by this momentum, she broke in the next game to gain a 4-2 advantage, only to be broken in game seven, keeping Carter in the match before the closing stages of the encounter. Cori scored another break in game eight to jump into a 5-3 lead and she sealed the deal with a nice hold in game nine, earning another big win at such a young age.

Cori is the only player born in 2004 with pro wins and to illustrate her dominance over the rest of her generation we only have to know she is the third-best junior of the world, with just two more players of her generation ranked inside the Top 300, and none in the Top 190! ALSO READ: Super talented Italian Luca Nardi scores first pro win at the age of 14!