Coco Gauff second player after Maria Sharapova to achieve this remarkable Slam feat

With her latest Australian Open win, Gauff emulates a Sharapova Grand Slam feat.

by Dzevad Mesic
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Coco Gauff second player after Maria Sharapova to achieve this remarkable Slam feat
© Getty Images Sport - Darrian Traynor

Coco Gauff has emulated an impressive Maria Sharapova feat, joining the Russian tennis icon as the second teenager to have won 12 consecutive Grand Slam matches won in the 21st century, via Bastien Fachan. 

Gauff, 19, started her Grand Slam winning streak at the US Open, where she went 7-of-7 to lift her first Grand Slam title. In Melbourne, world No. 4 Gauff continued her winning run at the Grand Slam level, winning her opening five matches to reach the Australian Open semifinal. 

After four straight-set wins to start the Australian Open, Gauff was made to work hard by Marta Kostyuk in the quarterfinal. However, despite not playing her best tennis, Gauff was able to avoid a shock defeat on Tuesday and beat 37th-ranked Kostyuk 7-6 (6) 6-7 (3) 6-2 for her 12th consecutive Grand Slam.

Coco Gauff
Coco Gauff© Getty Images Sport - Julian Finney
 

Between 2006 September and 2007 January, Sharapova won 13 consecutive Grand Slam matches. After winning the 2006 US Open, Sharapova also won her first six matches at the 2007 Australian Open before losing to Serena Williams in the final. 17 years later, Gauff has become the next teenager to win at least 12 consecutive Grand Slam matches in the 21st century.

Gauff acknowledges she didn't play her best

Although 21-year-old Kostyuk was having her career-best Grand Slam run, there was no any doubt that Gauff was the favorite to end on the winning side in their matchup. While not delivering her best tennis in the Australian Open quarterfinal wasn't the ideal scenario, Gauff felt "proud" and happy that she was at least able to find a way to clinch an ugly win.

"It was a fight. I think today was definitely a C game, so didn't play my best tennis but really proud that I was able to get through today's match. Hopefully got the bad match out of the way and I can play even better," Gauff said after surviving a three-setter against Kostyuk.

After Gauff made a slow start to the match and suffered back-to-back breaks in the fourth and sixth games, Kostyuk opened a 5-1 lead. Just when it seemed Kostyuk would easily win the first set, Gauff responded by claiming three breaks in a row and winning the next five games for a 6-5 lead. In the process of winning five games in a row, Gauff also saved Kostyuk's set point on her serve in the eighth game. 

Although Gauff failed to serve out for the first set in the 12th game, the American still won the opener via a tie-break. In the first-set tie-break, Gauff saved Kostyuk's second set point before realizing her own second set point. 

In the second set, Gauff paid the price for failing to serve out for the match at 5-3 as Kostyuk managed to force a tie-break, in which the Ukrainian opened a 6-2 lead before converting her second set point to send the match into a decider. After failing to close out the match in two sets, Gauff bounced back by taking a 5-0 third-set lead. Gauff failed to serve out for the match in the sixth game but managed to do so in her third attempt, in the eighth game.

Coco Gauff and Marta Kostyuk
Coco Gauff and Marta Kostyuk© Getty Images Sport - Julian Finney
 

After the match, Gauff was asked what was going through her mind when found herself 5-1 down in the first set.

"I wasn't playing great. I was just missing everything on both wings and not serving well. I was just trying to win one extra game (smiling)," Gauff said. 

"That was really the one thing. I was just, like, let me make it competitive. Obviously sometimes when you're down 5-1 you're not expecting to win the set. I believe every point, every game matters, and eventually the score started to get closer.

"Then I was back on serve. I was just fighting as much as possible. I know going in, playing her, it's a tough match. She's pretty athletic, and we kind of play similar. I think today she was just more offensive, which I wish I was taking the offense from the beginning."

Gauff set to face Aryna Sabalenka next

In the Australian Open semifinal, it is all set for a rematch of the 2023 US Open final between Gauff and Sabalenka. In their last meeting, Gauff came back from a set down to beat Sabalenka 2-6 6-3 6-2 and become a Grand Slam champion at Flushing Meadows.

When Gauff and 25-year-old Sabalenka meet at the Australian Open, it is going to be their seventh meeting. Going into the match, Gauff owns a positive 4-2 head-to-head against Sabalenka.

Coco Gauff and Aryna Sabalenka
Coco Gauff and Aryna Sabalenka© Getty Images Sport - Elsa
 

After Gauff defeated Kostyuk, Sabalenka ousted 2021 French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova 6-2 6-3. En route to reaching the Australian Open semifinal, Sabalenka hasn't dropped a single set. Ahead of the Australian Open semifinal, Gauff acknowledges that it will be all but easy against in-form Sabalenka.

"Obviously Aryna, always a tough match with her. I think she's playing well this tournament. Yeah, obviously that US Open final was tough," Gauff said.

It remains to be seen if Gauff can beat Sabalenka and make back-to-back Grand Slam finals.

Coco Gauff Maria Sharapova Australian Open
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