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Coco Gauff’s US Open run ends with quarter-final loss to Caroline Garcia

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Coco Gauff loses at the US Open
Coco Gauff, of the United States, celebrates after defeating Shuai Zhang, of China, during the fourth round of the U.S. Open tennis championships, Sunday, Sept. 4, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)

It rained on Coco Gauff’s quarter-final performance, both literally and figuratively, as the 18-year-old was eliminated from the US Open 6-3, 6-4 against Caroline Garcia

Gauff came into this matchup 2-0 in her career against the Frenchwoman, but Garcia has simply been too good over the last few weeks. She won the Cincinnati tune-up tournament ahead of the US Open and has now won 13 matches in a row and 31 of her last 35 matches. 

“I don’t know how to describe it,” said Garcia on court after the match. “It’s crazy. The atmosphere was very, very strong. Obviously, to play an American here is like crazy energy. My head is just buzzing.” 

However, while Garcia thought the energy was crazy, Chris Evert and the other color commentators on ESPN felt that Coco Gauff was not getting enough support from the New York fans. In fact, they pointed out that many fans were still showing up during the second set of her match and talking loudly enough that the chair umpire had to ask for quiet. 

It seems as though, even as Coco Gauff climbs the rankings, she has a long way to go to win the hearts of American tennis fans. But that just becomes another thing for her to work towards. As we’ve seen on the big stage, like her French Open final run, Gauff has the talent to play with anybody, but the consistency is not there yet. 

“Her level was great,” the teenager said after the match. “I knew it was going to be great coming in. I feel I didn’t play at the level I needed to to come out with the win today.”

The young American, who struggled with double faults in her round of 16 win, had another six today. She was only able to win 64% of her first serves and a shockingly low 27% of her second serve points as Garcia simply hammered away at Gauff’s second serve. 

Garcia was all over Gauff from the beginning, building up a 4-0 lead before the match even felt like it started. Gauff was broken twice during that stretch and struggled with unforced errors. She battled back, as Coco Gauff has proven she will do, but the hole was a bit too big in that first set. 

In the second set, Garcia simply never let Gauff get close. The Frenchwoman has been broken less than any other woman left in the draw and she continued that trend tonight, erasing the only break point she faced in the second set with a well-timed ace. It was a truly impressive display of tennis and one that Gauff, despite her best fight, was simply not able to keep up with. 

And Gauff knew it too. “I had a lot of unforced errors today. I think I had a couple of balls where I could have finished the point. Especially when she was coming to net, I missed a lot of passing shots when they were open.”

While the end result wasn’t there, it’s simply another opportunity for the young player to keep learning and growing.

“I think I’m learning more to not be so much disappointed in myself,” admitted Gauff.  “Really I’m just proud of how I was able to come through this week. After everything that happened in Cincinnati, I didn’t tell anyone, but I didn’t think it was going to be that good of a tournament for me. I think it was good I was able to bounce back. I really proved to myself mentally that I can come out of these tough situations and do it.”

Gauff’s struggles with consistency and learning how to succeed during the long tennis season is nothing new to Caroline Garcia. Back in 2011, when she was 17 years old, Garcia came out of nowhere as a wildcard ranked 188th in the world and almost beat Maria Sharapova at the French Open

“After the Sharapova match, it was a lot of pressure coming from actually nowhere,” Garcia explained. “I was 150, 200 in the world. 17 years old. My game was not ready. I was not able to play that consistent, this kind of level. The weeks after I went back to trying to play the same level, but it was not possible for me.”

Even though Garcia would later climb to a ranking as high as 4th in the world, the now-28-year-old struggled with her preparation and focus and was not able to have consistent success. Even heading into this summer, she was ranked as low as 79th in the world. 

“It was tough because people were expecting a lot. But the game, I was not ready for anything of that. It took me some time to come step by step to the top.”

Garcia will now move onto her first Grand Slam semi-finals ever and is doing so without having lost a set so far in the tournament. She’ll face 5th-seed Ons Jabeur after Jabeur became the first woman from Africa to ever make the semi-finals of the US Open

However, all is not lost for Coco Gauff. The trip to the quarter-finals will push her into the top 10 in the world for the first time in her career. Obviously, that will not take the sting away from another Grand Slam loss, but it is a sign that the best might be yet to come. 

“I’m hungry for more. So maybe next year.”

For more US Open coverage, like this Coco Gauff story, visit amNY Sports

Caroline Garcia celebrates her win over Coco Gauff at the US Open
Caroline Garcia, of France, celebrates after winning a point against Coco Gauff, of the United States, during the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open tennis championships, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

 

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