Coco Gauff looked like her debut appearance at the U.S. Open would be a short one. Her first-round match against Anastasia Potapova started terribly for the 15-year-old American, who looked completely overmatched. Then Gauff turned things around and conjured a bit of magic, reminding viewers of her fantastic Wimbledon from a few months ago.
Potapova ran Gauff off the court in the first set, cruising to a 6-3 win. But a switch flipped for Gauff entering the second frame, as she blitzed the 18-year-old Russian 6-2 and opened the third with a ton of momentum.
Gauff was absolutely on fire to start the third set and raced to a 4-1 lead. During a break, Potapova called for a trainer to look at her shoulder. The Russian teen held serve in the following game to tighten things up at 4-2 and then broke Gauff to make it 4-3 thanks to some dodgy serving from the American. Potapova held serve to make it 4-4 and all the pressure was back on Gauff’s shoulders. But she answered with a dominant service game to regain a 5-4 advantage, and she had the entire crowd at Flushing Meadows behind her.
Potapova served to stay in the match with Gauff ahead 5-4, but the American overpowered her and finished off the match 6-4 in the third set. It was a brilliant performance by the 15-year-old.
Gauff became a household name during a brilliant run at Wimbledon this summer. At 15 years and three months old, she became the youngest player to ever reach the main draw in the tournament. In her debut she upset Venus Williams, then topped Magdalena Rybarikova and Polona Hercog in a phenomenal match. She was a blast to watch and it was clear she was a player to watch for the future. She lost to Simona Halep in the fourth round, but we all knew she was something special.
On Tuesday, Gauff reminded us why we all were so enthralled by her performance at Wimbledon. She’s still just 15 and can make things happen on the biggest stages in tennis.