Gauff won 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 to become the youngest player to reach the third round of the US Open since Anna Kournikova in 1996 (almost eight years before Gauff was born).
The 15-year-old from Florida moved will now battle No. 1 seed and defending US Open champion Naomi Osaka in a match that will likely take place under the lights at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Saturday.
“For me it’s still wild,” Gauff said after her win. “The first round was the first time I actually had a chant, but today it was a lot louder and a little more consistent. I was thinking like maybe they feel like I’m Golden State [NBA team] in Game 7 or something. It’s different because you’re an individual player, so it’s weird. Most of the time you hear the chants, it’s for a whole team, not just for, like, me.”
Naomi Osaka and Coco Gauff have practiced together in the past but Gauff knows that she will have to put their warm relationship aside on Saturday:
“She’s an amazing player,” Gauff said. “She’s defending champion. She’s won two slams. She’s No 1. She’s only 21. We’re both pretty young. But I’m a little bit newer to the game. So I’m just curious to see how my game matches up against her. Obviously I want to win.”
Osaka defeated Magda Linette 6-2, 6-4 to advance to the third round of the US Open, with Kobe Bryant and Colin Kaepernick cheering her on from her box at Louis Armstrong Stadium.
Whether Gauff wins against Osaka or not, her progress in the US Open will reignite the debate over the age eligibility rules of the WTA. Right now 15-year-old players have a restricted number of events they can play to reduce burnout.