Coco Gauff wanted to play in the Upper Austria Ladies tournament but had to qualify to get into the main draw. She unfortunately lost her second qualifying round to Tamara Korpatsch and decided to continue getting ready for a press conference, but something happened.
"It was very surprising because I was supposed to do a press thing today...I had practiced earlier, went back to the hotel and then got a phone call..." The call was for her to replace an injured Maria Sakkari and become a lucky loser in the tournament to be ready in 40 minutes.
She was to meet the Swiss qualifier Stefanie Voegele in the first round since Maria Sakkari couldn't due to a wrist injury. Voegele has been on tour for 16 years and if she though her chances for a round one victory were better now, she ws mistaken.
Gauff was just getting to learn the difference in tennis environment with hard court indoors. "I didn't know too much about my opponent. I think I just found out how she kind of played word of mouth," Gauff confessed.
She approached Voegele with the same competitive drive and even had match point at 5-3 in the second set for the Swiss to win three straight games. Gauff wouldn't give the match over easy and broke back winning the last six points of a tiebreak winning her first career tour-level indoor win 6-3, 7-6.
The match had dragged on for two hours but Gauff came out the winner in a lucky loser position. "Today was my lucky day, so I hope I continue to take that luck into whenever I play my second round," she smilingly said.
But the second round at Linz was just as dynamic as Gauff matched up with Katerina Kozlova. The 15-year-old lost the first set 4-6 but regained focus and won 6-4. the two played off the decider with Gauff leading 2-0. Kozlova sustained a left leg injury and retired, giving the match to Gauff.
She's made more history by being the youngest player to reach a WTA quarterfinal. "It's a good acccomplishment and hopefully I can continue to push that to the semifinals...I guess that I'm used to being the youngest to do a lot of things..."
she admitted. Gauff started this season at 685 and has now made it to the top 100 closing near the end of the season. The 15-year-old had major things happening starting with Wimbledon reaching the fourth round and then making it into the third round of the U.S.
Open. She's accomplished most on her bucket list for this season. "..My goal was to get in the main draw of two Grand Slams, and that happened, so I'm glad that I accomplished everything that I wanted this year."
The Linz event now was the first win of an indoor match and for her she says "Right now, it's all about matches for me, and getting more matches under my belt, as much as possible. I feel fresh and eager to do well."