Cori Gauff needed only four years to make a transition from the youngest player in the Roland Garros junior draw toward a Major finalist in Paris! The young American played in her first Major final last year in the French capital, four years after conquering the junior event at 14!
Cori made an incredible run at junior events in 2018, winning a couple of notable titles and becoming world no. 1 in July! Gauff made her professional debut in May 2018 in Osprey, passing three qualifying rounds after dropping only nine games and becoming the first player born in 2004 with a professional victory!
The young gun headed to Paris, entering her third straight Major at such a young age. Cori was the youngest player in the draw and the only born in 2004. However, she was among the favorites after reaching the US Open final a year ago.
Roland Garros was Gauff's seventh ITF junior event, and she made a winning start after beating Stefania Rogozinska Dzik 6-3, 6-0 in an hour and ten minutes! After a messy opening six games, the American raised her level, dominating on serve and return to deliver her first triumph in Paris.
Cori rattled off ten games, breaking the rival's resistance and moving into the second round. The Atlanta native was rock solid on the return, winning almost 70% of the points on Rogozinska Dzik's serve. Cori scored a break in all seven return games, controlling the scoreboard from the middle of the opening set.
Stefania played decent tennis on the return, taking 43% of the points behind Gauff's initial shot. However, that was not enough for a more favorable result after such a poor display on serve. They needed some time to find their shots, with six breaks at the start of the match!
Gauff outplayed her rival with deep and precise groundstrokes that left the Pole without an answer. Stefania kicked off the action with a break of serve before Cori got it back after her rival's double fault in game two. A backhand error from the American cost her another service game at 1-1.
Cori Gauff won her first Roland Garros junior match in 2018 at 14.
However, she stayed in touch after breaking back in game four, hoping for more free points on serve in the rest of the set. Instead, Rogozinska Dzik grabbed her third straight break in game five after a forehand error from the 14-year-old, securing her third advantage.
The American stayed focused and erased the deficit with some good returns in game six, leveling the score at 3-3. The first hold came in game seven after Gauff's service winner. The 14-year-old confirmed the lead with a forehand winner in the following one, moving 5-3 ahead and serving for the opener in the next game.
Another service winner got the job done for the American, wrapping up the opener and gaining a boost ahead of set number two. Cori broke at 15 in the first game when Stefania netted a backhand. Gauff had to dig deep to cement it, fending off four break points in the second game and settling into a fine rhythm.
The Pole had nothing more left in the tank. Gauff broke her at love in game three with a volley winner, playing well and moving closer to the finish line. A service winner pushed Cori 4-0 up before delivering another break a few minutes later with a deep backhand attack. The American served for the victory at 5-0 and held at love, making a winning Parisian debut.
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