Coco Gauff made it look easy. That’s not supposed to happen in a Grand Slam semi-final. It’s also not supposed to happen when you’re only 18-years-old.
It might be time to re-set our ideas of what is supposed to happen when it comes to what Coco Gauff is going to do.
The American teenager, who was making her first-ever Grand Slam semi-final appearance, dismantled Italian Martina Trevisan 6-3, 6-1 to advance to the French Open final. There, she will face the number one player in the world, Poland’s Iga Swiatek, who also had an easy go of things on Thursday, dispatching Russian Daria Kasatkina 6-2, 6-1 in the other semi-final.
Despite the tough task ahead of her, Gauff is showing the form that could make life harder for Swiatek than it’s been at any other point in this tournament. The American has yet to lose a set in the tournament and has looked motivated to avenge her 2021 French Open quarter-final loss to Barbora Krejcikova, a match in which Gauff held – and lost – five set points.
But growth and improvement are what we should expect from a player this young. In fact, Gauff is just the third American in 20 years to reach a Grand Slam semi-final before her 19th birthday. Serena Williams and Tracy Austin are the only American women to have won Grand Slams at an age younger than what Gauff is right now, with Williams being 17 when she won the US Open in 1999 and Austin being just 16 when she won the US Open in 1979.
Gauff has been vocal about how much she looks up to Williams, and their names have been linked as Gauff continues to push to the forefront of the discussion on the future of U.S. women’s tennis.
The speculation about who will carry the torch for U.S. tennis after Serena and her sister Venus Williams has been going on for years now, with players like Madison Keys, Sloane Stephens, and even Christina McHale being mentioned at various points in time.
While Serena Williams has floated the idea of a possible return for this year’s Wimbledon tournament, the greatest women’s tennis player of all time will eventually hang up her racket at some time in the near future. It now appears that the woman most likely to step into the spotlight is an 18-year-old recent high school graduate.
But that’s the future. In the present, Gauff has one monumental challenge ahead of her.
The French Open Final will certainly be a big moment for Gauff but not necessarily one that’s too overwhelming. Gauff has bounced back from tough defeats before and has shown a tremendous ability to balance her on-court play with her off-court advocacy for gun violence reform and her studies. She even celebrated her own high school graduation while in Paris for the French Open, posting photos in her cap and gown on her social media accounts.
With one celebration already down, why not add one more to the trip?
For more coverage of the 2022 French Open like this Coco Gauff story, visit amNY Sports