American teenage sensation Coco Gauff maintained her impressive streak at the ongoing Australian Open by knocking out defending champion Naomi Osaka on Friday. Gauff upset Osaka with a 6-3 6-4 two-set victory and sailed into the fourth round of the Grand Slam.
Joining the list of former champions who shockingly exit in the third rounds of the tournament on the same day, Osaka became the third such casualty after Serena Williams, and new retiree, Caroline Wozniacki.
Gauff, the giant-killer
Gauff, on her Australian Open debut, beat seven-time Grand Slam champion, Venus Williams, in the first round and will next face either China's Zhang Shuai or American 14th seed Sofia Kenin for a place in the quarter-finals. "Honestly, what is my life like? Two years ago, I lost in the first round of juniors, and now I'm here, this is crazy," Gauff told the crowd on Rod Laver Arena.
Gauff had lost to Osaka 6-3 6-0 at the US Open last year but easily avoided a repeat as a string of backhand errors off the Japanese third seed's racket gave the 15-year-old the break midway through the opening set.
Osaka's lackluster misfires
The pattern repeated itself in the second set, as a lackluster Osaka continued to misfire and Gauff served out the victory after just 67 minutes on court. She let out a huge roar in the direction of the players' box before heading to the net to receive the congratulations of the vanquished champion, who not so long ago was hailed as the future of women's tennis.
That title might soon sit on Gauff's shoulders but tennis is not the only thing on the teenager's mind with her remote schooling continuing throughout her travels. "My teachers are giving me some time, given the circumstances," she said. "I'm allowed to put in some assignments late, which is nice."
(With inputs from agencies)