A year ago, Cori Gauff was one of the best juniors in the world at the age of 14, finishing her junior duties following the triumph at the Orange Bowl in December 2018 and seeking the place in the top-100 of the WTA list.
What seemed impossible with her inexperience and a restricted number of tournaments she was allowed to play, Cori proved her quality on the big scene at Wimbledon and the US Open, finishing the year with the first WTA title in Linz to find herself in the top-70 at the end of the season and fulfill her goals!
Preparing for the first Australian Open at the age of 15, Gauff made a name for herself once again, beating Venus Williams in the first round just like at Wimbledon and prevailing against Sorana Cirstea to set the third-round clash with the defending champion Naomi Osaka.
Unlike at the US Open, a teenager proved to be too strong for the Japanese, delivering a 6-3, 6-4 triumph to move into the fourth round. There, the eventual champion Sofia Kenin halted the youngest player in the draw 6-7, 6-3, 6-0, taking charge from the second set to stay on the title course.
Cori and Catherine McNally were also the quarter-finalists of the doubles event, earning more WTA points after conquering their first WTA titles together a year ago. Gauff will now represent the USA against Latvia between February 7-8, hoping to make the Fed Cup debut before her next tournament at Indian Wells.
Former world no. 1 and Wimbledon champion Simona Halep backed Cori Gauff to chase the biggest tennis titles in a couple of years, speaking about the American's ability to win Major matches with easy even at this age. "Well, it's a big mix here with the 15-year-old that is winning matches in a Grand Slam and makes it look easy," said Halep.
"And a 29-year-old retiring, so I'm very close but, yes, I hope not yet! But also we have a 38-year-old still playing, Serena. Everyone has their feelings about this sport. What Coco Gauff is doing at this moment is a great thing. I'm sure that she gets much confidence, and soon she will be able to win one of these big tournaments."