Other 15-year-olds have won matches at Wimbledon and earned their quick second in the spotlight.
Cori “Coco” Gauff isn’t like other 15-year-old players in Wimbledon and her spotlight at center court is far from fading away.
Gauff continued her Cinderella run on Friday, defeating 28-year-old Polona Hercog 3-6, 7-6 (9-7), 7-5. She rallied back from a deep hole in the second set and held off a push by Hercog in the third set to make her way into the Round of 16 on Monday. She’s the youngest player this millennium to reach Wimbledon’s Round of 16.
Hercog was ranked 60th in the world entering the match.
Gauff was down 4-1 in the second set after double-faulting to give Hercog the first set. The fact that she fought her way back from down 6-3, 5-2 to win the match is simply remarkable.
Friday was her toughest match of the tournament so far, and her longest. She defeated Venus Williams and Rybarikova in straight sets in the first two rounds before Friday’s match against Hercog. The third round match lasted more than three hours.
Her energy and grit have made her must-watch TV every time she’s stepped onto the court. She started her Wimbledon journey by defeating one of her idols, Venus Williams, in the first round and her youthful and energetic underdog run is easily the story of Wimbledon.
Not only has she earned fans at Wimbledon, but her story has also reached everyone back in America as well. People filled her father’s bar in Delray Beach, Florida for Friday’s match. And they were just as excited about the 15-year-old’s win as everyone at center court.
“You can kind of fake it until you make it, but I’m not faking it, at least right now,” Gauff told reporters after her win on Wednesday.
She still has a chance to take on her other idol, Serena Williams, if she can make her way into the later rounds of the tournament.
She didn’t earn an automatic bid into Wimbledon due to her low ranking (she was 313th prior to the tournament) but earned a wild card spot and played her way into the draw. Since then she’s worked her way up and is now ranked in the top 150 entering Monday’s Round of 16 match against No. 7 Simona Halep.
If Gauff pulls off yet another stunning win on Monday against Halep, she’ll leap into the WTA’s top 100.
“It just shows if you really work hard, you can get where you want to go,” Gauff added. “Last week, around this time, I didn’t know I was coming here.”