Coco Gauff stormed her way through to the third round of the US Open on Wednesday after beating Elena-Gabriela Ruse in straight sets, despite a nervous finish at Arthur Ashe stadium.
Gauff, 18, convincingly won the first set 6-2 but had to work hard to get past a defying Ruse in the second, narrowly defeating her opponent 7-6 after a tie-break.
Ruse, who is Romanian, led 5-3 at one point in the final set but could not break Gauff, eventually losing 7-4 in a tiebreak.
Coco Gauff stormed her way through to the third round of the US Open on Wednesday
Gauff (left), of the US, shakes hands after defeating Ruse (right), winning her only second game at Arthur Ashe Stadium
The match lasted an hour and 30 minutes. Gauff had five aces, won four out of five break points, and 77 percent of the time on her first serve.
‘It’s a really big court and I’ve been watching Venus here, Serena here and now I’m playing here,’ Gauff said in an on-court interview.
‘It’s an honor to open up the court for her tonight.’
The 18-year-old, who came into the tournament as the second-highest ranked US player due to her current No. 12 seed, will now face compatriot Madison Keys on Friday in the third round.
Both trail Jessica Pegula, who is currently ranked as the world’s No. 8 seed. The 28-year-old will face Belarusian tennis Aliaksandra Sasnovich, also 28, on Thursday after her first-round win against Viktorija Golubic, 6-2, 6-2.
Gauff is also the second-youngest player left in the women’s draw and is considered one of the favorites to win the US Open, along with top seed Iga Swiatek.
Earlier this year, the American reached the final of Roland Garros (the French Open) and belief surrounding the Atlanta-born teen has never been higher.
‘Getting to a final, I think people expect you to get over that final hurdle, and that’s something I expect of myself too because I know I feel it in me that I can repeat it and do it again,’ Gauff said in an interview after her first-round, 6-2, 6-3 win over Leolia Jeanjean.
Gauff, 18, defeated Romania’s Elena-Gabriela Ruse in straight sets 6-2, 7-6 to reach third round
‘I didn’t expect myself to be so nervous before the final. Now that I know what to expect, I expect myself to at least do better.
Prior to her participation at the US Open, Gauff suffered a nasty fall at the Cincinnati Masters against the Czech Republic’s Marie Bouzkova in the first-round match.
She sustained a left ankle injury and eventually had to retire before withdrawing from the tournament, sparking fears that she wouldn’t feature at the US Open.
Gauff is considered one of the favorites to win the US Open, along with top seed Iga Swiatek
Meanwhile, earlier on Wednesday, No. 20 Keys defeated Camila Giorgi, from Italy, in three straights.
The match went right to the wire as the American edged out the contest 6-4, 5-7, 7-6.
In a similar ending to Gauff’s match, Keys survived a decisive tiebreaker 10-6 to get to the next round.
Shelby Rogers, ranked No. 31, and Alison Riske-Amritraj, ranked No. 29, are the other two Americans through to the next round.
Rogers defeated Viktoria Kuzmova, of Slovenia, 7-5, 6-1; while Riske-Amritraj had to battle through Colombian Camila Osorio 6-4, 6-7, 7-5 (10-5).