WTA

Coco Gauff confident of Grand Slam glory in near future

By Sports Desk June 29, 2023

Coco Gauff believes she is on track for Grand Slam glory in the near future after powering past her doubles partner Jessica Pegula to reach the semi-finals of a rain-affected Rothesay International in Eastbourne.

Wet weather delayed the start of play on day four at Devonshire Park before world number seven Gauff wasted little time in dispatching her fellow American 6-3 6-3 in an hour and 10 minutes.

The 19-year-old fifth-seed is the highest-ranked player remaining in the competition following victory over world number four Pegula and will face another compatriot, Madison Keys, in the last four.

Gauff spoke earlier in the week of feeling like a contender going into every major tournament and is growing in confidence ahead of Friday’s Wimbledon draw.

“That would be the greatest thing,” the 2022 French Open finalist said of the prospect of winning a Grand Slam title.

“I don’t know how my career will pan out but I do think I’m giving myself the best opportunity and the best chance with the day by day work that I’m doing and that’s all I can control.

“Obviously when I get on the court I will try my best but I definitely feel like I’m on the pathway to getting one soon.”

Gauff burst on to the scene as a 15-year-old at Wimbledon in 2019 by defeating five-time champion Venus Williams en route to the fourth round.

She admits the weight of expectation has increased going into her fourth championship at the All England Club.

“I am trying to be more aggressive and I think I feel a little bit more pressure now,” she replied when asked about how her game has developed during the past four years.

“The more established you become, the more people expect from you, so sometimes I do try to take myself back to that mindset I had when I was 15.

“It’s really about balance. You have to know you’re going to do well but don’t expect too much where you, I guess, crumble under the pressure.”

There is guaranteed to be an American in the women’s final in East Sussex after Keys – the 2014 Eastbourne champion – won five games in a row during a 6-4 6-1 success over Croatian lucky loser Petra Martic.

Meanwhile, world number five Caroline Garcia endured a disappointing day as a right shoulder injury caused her to retire while trailing Russia’s Daria Kasatkina 6-2 2-1.

Kasatkina awaits the winner of Birmingham Classic champion Jelena Ostapenko and Italy’s Camila Giorgi.

In the men’s draw, Argentinian fourth seed Francisco Cerundolo defeated China’s Zhizhen Zhang 6-2 6-3 to reach the maiden grass court semi-final of his career.

Cerundolo’s last-four opponent will be American Mackenzie McDonald, a 6-4 3-6 6-3 victor against Swede Mikael Ymer.

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