September 3rd, 2019

‘CoCo Mania;’ Amazing Singles, Doubles Run at US Open Ends for Florida’s Gauff

General News Pro Tennis

CoCo-mania ended, at least on the court, at the US Open on Monday when 15-year-old Coco Gauff and her 17-year-old doubles partner Caty McNally were defeated in the third round, ending an amazing streak together.

The pair first played doubles together last year in the US Open juniors, claiming the title at the girls’ championship. They next paired last month, receiving a wild card into the main draw at the event in Washington, D.C., where the teens raising their first WTA-level professional trophy. “Team McCoco” then brought their undefeated streak into Flushing Meadows, winning two rounds before falling to former No. 1-ranked singles players Victoria Azarenka and Ashleigh Barty 6-0, 6-1.

After Gauff’s run at Wimbledon and Washington her matches have been packed with fans, regardless of whether its singles or doubles. On Monday it was no different as fans clamored to get a glimpse of the future of American women’s tennis.

Both players showed why, with years to go in their teens, they will be formidable players in singles (and doubles) for years to come.

McNally in the second round gave former No. 1 Serena Williams all she could handle, winning the first set before falling in three. Gauff upset two players in her first-ever US Open main draw appearance before losing to top-seeded Naomi Osaka. In the first set she broke the Japanese player’s serve and kept pace en route to an eventual 6-3, 6-0 defeat.

After the tense meeting Gauff cried in her chair before Osaka came over to console her. Osaka then brought her onto the court so both players could share in the traditional on-court interview for the victor.

“It showed both personalities from both players,” Roger Federer said about the moment. “In a way also tennis won on the night, not just Osaka. Also Coco, the way she handled herself anyway. It’s incredible at 15. I can’t even think being so well-behaved at 15.”

It would have been understandable to see Gauff the next day a little flat coming off such an emotional day. Instead she teamed with McNally to shock No. 9 seeds and 2018 Wimbledon finalists Nicole Melichar and Kveta Peschke.

“Today I came in with a little more pressure on myself than singles because I know I have someone else that I can’t let down,” Gauff said afterward.

While the loss in the subsequent round to Azarenka-Barty may have been a letdown, the 15-year-old leaves Flushing Meadows with her head held high, and U.S. tennis fans seemingly held in the palm of her hand.

ESPN reported that the singles match between Gauff and Osaka drew a 1.9 overnight rating, according to Nielsen, and peaked at a 2.3 rating, both the highest points for a match during the 2019 US Open to date. The entire evening session that night averaged a 1.4, up nearly triple from a 0.5 last year, and the 12-hour day was up 83%  over the previous year’s rating.

Coco-mania is in full force for the 15-year-old from Delray Beach, Fla., who this time last year had not played in the main draw of the WTA-level or Grand Slam professional tournament.

“A lot can happen in a year,” Gauff said. “Last year I was preparing for juniors. Now I almost got to the second week in my first main draw US Open. I’m super-proud of myself. I’m just going to continue to learn. My dad told me I’m 15, I still have a lot to work on, a lot to improve.”