The latest tennis wonderkid Cori Gauff will have the opportunity to further build on her dream run with a very winnable clash in the third round of Wimbledon. The 15 year-old plays Polona Hercog, herself a surprise name this far into the draw. If she wins, she will have the chance to face another former No.1 with either Simona Halep or Victoria Azarenka up on Monday.
While Gauff is one of the top juniors about, there wasn’t a great deal expected from her having progressed from qualifying as a wildcard. She stunned Venus Williams with a mature performance in round one, winning 6-4 6-4. Just as impressively, she dominated against Magdalena Rybarikova to advance 6-3 6-3. The variety and trickery of Rybarikova has unsettled many an inexperienced player, especially on this surface. She didn’t face a single break point in the match and won 85% on first serve. “The last three days have definitely just kind of been surprising,” Gauff said after her win. “It just shows if you really work hard, you can get where you want to go. Last week around this time, didn’t know I was coming here. It just shows you have to be ready for everything.”
An all-American clash would have been been expected by many but Polona Hercog but paid to that with a shocker 6-2 6-4 win over Madison Keys. Hercog’s best performances have always been on clay but it would have been difficult to tell the way she dealt with Keys, not getting broken once.
The legacy of the Williams’ sisters has inspired many of a young African American girl with Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens leading the charge. The next generation of them will be led by Gauff, who could well turn out to be better than any of them if her tournament here is a sign of things to come. After playing an all time great and a very credible grass courter, the expectations will be much different for this match up. She will be favoured against a player far more comfortable on clay, something that will be a new experience for her this week. “It’s definitely been a challenge. I think I’ve kind of reached basically almost the best mentality I can get to. You always can improve.” she said. “Right now I feel like the way I’m acting and the way I kind of feel inside… You can kind of fake it till you make it – but I’m not faking it, at least right now.”
Prediction – Cori Gauff in straight sets