Rising American star Cori Gauff said her Indian Wells Masters debut was "really special" as she was glad that he managed to win in her first-ever match played in the desert. Gauff, seeded at No. 15, had a first round bye in Indian Wells.
On Saturday, world No. 19 Gauff beat Caroline Garcia in three sets 6-3 6-7 (2) 6-1 to reach the Indian Wells third round. Gauff, 17, didn't play at the Indian Wells Masters in 2019 and didn't have a chance to play at the tournament last year since it wasn't held.
"It's really special to come out here to a crowd so welcoming. Honestly, I just kept telling myself to keep going for my shots. Even in the second set, I had a lot of opportunities... and I just told myself to keep going for my shots and it ended up working out," Gauff said, per Tennis Up To Date.
Gauff grateful to fans for supporting her
"Playing matches with nerves, it's not easy to put on a face. I know it seems like I'm calm sometimes, but I'm really freaking out. I try to not let you guys see, or most importantly, let my opponent see, and I think that got me through.
I always say the crowd makes a difference in a match... and I'm happy this crowd loves me. It's my first time playing in front of you guys... and I like you back," Gauff added. A few days ago, Gauff revealed she was inspired by Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez.
Raducanu, 18, beat Fernandez in the US Open final to lift her maiden Grand Slam title. "It was definitely inspiring for me especially since I’m younger than both of them," Gauff told the media at Indian Wells, per Tennis Nowt.
"I think for me it just shows how much a year makes a difference and what I can hopefully do next year."