15 year old tennis sensation Cori Gauff stuns Centre Court to progress to Wimbledon 4th round
American prodigy Cori Gauff won a nerve jangling 3 set match over experienced Slovenian WTA player Hercog to keep her dream of a Wimbledon title alive
Gauff came under pressure on serve early in the first set on as she double faulted and was forced to save a break point to take a 2-1 lead.
Hercog looked much more comfortable on serve in the opening exchanges, and was able to go a break of serve ahead. A long rally saw the Slovenian targeting the teenager’s forehand until she suddenly switched to a backhand drive down the line to take a 4-3 lead. Gauff was making too many unforced errors, and in her next service game she double faulted three times to hand the first set to Hercog 6-3.
During the early stages of the second set the American began to show the first signs of frustration at Grand Slam level, and a weak forehand into the net to hand Hercog a 2-0 lead, the girl from Atlanta threw her racket in despair.
Some dominant serving from the 60th ranked Hercog saw her to a 5-2 lead, but here the nerves began to show from the 28 year old. She found herself with a match point on Cori Gauff’s serve, but a clever backhand slice and drop shots saw the American hold on. Hercog failed to serve the match out. At a second match point she double faulted, and later at the net left a Gauff passing shot which ended up bouncing onto her right hand singles lines. This meant Gauff had broken back to 4-5.
With both women holding onto their serves from here, a tiebreak would have to settle the set. Playing her first Slam, it was Gauff’s first ever professional tiebreak. In a topsy turvy tiebreak which saw little dominance on serving points. Gauff did not give anymore match point chances away, and took her third set point chance after she unleashed a ripping backhand in a long predominately sliced rally which helped set up a forehand volley to take the set in which she has faced match point twice.
The 15 year old looked in rhythm at the start of the second set, and broke the Hercog serve to go 3-1 up after the Slovenian sent a wild forehand wide and long. But at 4-3 Gauff hit a loose forehand herself handing her opponent three break back points, with Hercog taking the second. A successive hold of serve from Hercog saw the third set go to 4-4.
Two love holds for the American and one for Hercog saw them go to a third set tiebreak after more than two and a half hours of play. In the deciding tiebreak, two poor forehand unforced errors from the more experienced player set Gauff up with her first match point. A tense rally saw a lob go long from Hercog, with jumping into the air.
She has made the fourth round at her first Slam, and will next face seventh seed and former French Open champion Simona Halep.
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