The 15-year-old Cori Gauff has been one of the most significant prospects in the women's tennis and her 2018 season was nothing but great, standing as the youngest player on the WTA ranking list and also among the best juniors in the world!
The Delray Beach resident already had a chance to work at the prestigious Mouratoglou Tennis Academy and meet her idol Serena Williams, setting her goals high in the quest to become one of the best players of all time. The other players born in 2004 are only making their first steps on the ITF Junior Tour but thanks to her immense talent and amazing physical abilities, Cori has already pushed the age limits and achieved what only a few players were capable of in the last 20 years or so.
The American was ranked inside the top-900 on the WTA ranking list after winning two matches back in May and June, passing three qualifying rounds at both events against much older and experienced rivals to become the first player of her generation with professional triumphs under her belt.
Also, Cori was the player to beat in juniors as well despite being the youngest player in every draw she entered, competing in just 12 junior events and becoming world no. 1 back in July! At the age of 13, Cori was the US Open finalist in 2017, losing the title match to Amanda Anisimova and forging the way for an even better 2018 when she continued to amaze.
Arriving in Paris to compete in only her eighth junior event on the ITF level, Cori Gauff went all the way to lift the title and become the fourth-youngest Roland Garros champion after Martina Hingis, Jennifer Capriati and Gabriela Sabatini despite being by far the youngest player in the draw and the only one from her generation!
Roehampton was the player to beat in Roehampton as well, conquering the junior throne at the age of 14 and reaching the quarter-final at Wimbledon, US Open and Mundial Juvenil Yucatan to keep herself inside the top-3. Gauff closed the historic season at the Orange Bowl where she won the U12 title just two years ago.
Following her fantastic improvement in the last year or so, Gauff was the top seed and the favorite for the U18 title and she didn't fail to deliver, beating the 2nd seed Qinwen Zheng 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 to wrap up another big title and close her junior career at the moment her coevals are just starting it!
Scoring ten professional wins in 2019 so far (the most important one in Miami, her first on the WTA level), Cori is ranked inside the top-300 and received a wild card for the qualifying draw at Roland Garros where she won the junior title a year ago.
In the first round, the American defeated Ankita Raina from India 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and 24 minutes to become the youngest player with Grand Slam win (main draw or qualifying rounds) since Martina Hingis in 1995! Cori did more damage with her first serve and grabbed half of the return points, earning five breaks from eight chances and playing three loose service games to book the place in the second round.
Saving a break point in the opening game of the match, Gauff brought it home with a service winner and wasted break chances in game two, missing the opportunity to move in front. A teenager drew first blood in game six after a poor drop shot from Raina, holding at 15 with another unreturned serve to open a 5-2 gap.
Serving for the set, Gauff got broken in game nine before scoring another break at 5-4 to seal the opener in 42 minutes. The Indian broke in the third game of the second set after a double fault from Cori who survived another challenging game on her serve and broke back in game six after a terrible backhand from Raina.
Ready to fight for every point, Ankita grabbed another break in the next game thanks to a forehand winner, only to lose serve at love and send the momentum to the other side of the net. A service winner pushed Gauff 5-4 up and another break in game ten propelled her over the finish line to secure the place in the second round and write history pages once again in Paris.