Coco Gauff Makes History! Teen Becomes Youngest Tennis Player in 15 Years to Reach WTA Final
The 15-year-old athlete made headlines earlier this year when she defeated five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams
Coco Gauff just made history!
On Saturday, the 15-year-old tennis star defeated Andrea Petkovic 6-4, 6-4 at the Linz Open in Austria to move on to the final round of the tournament. Her victory makes her the youngest tennis player in 15 years to make it to a WTA final, according to CNN. Nicole Vaidisova previously held the record in 2004.
“This is definitely unreal, my first final on the WTA,” Gauff said after her win, according to Agence France-Presse. “Linz is my special place.”
“I’ve had a lot of luck and happiness here,” she added.
Gauff originally wasn’t in the main draw of the tournament, but snuck in as a “lucky loser” after another player pulled out due to an injury, CNN reported.
During the first round, she defeated Stefanie Voegele, and made it to the quarterfinals after her next opponent Kateryna Kozlova retired with a leg injury. The athlete then beat top-seed Kiki Bertens on Friday to make it to the semifinals.
After the match, Osaka, 21, invited Gauff to join her winner’s interview, in a moment that left both tennis players in tears.
“I wanted to leave the court because I lost,” Gauff said of the moment during a September interview on Today. She continued, “And she was like ‘No, come with me’ and I was just shocked because no one ever does that.”
“I couldn’t thank her enough and I was really shocked,” the athlete added. “It was an emotional moment — good and bad emotions.”
Gauff made headlines earlier this year when she defeated five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams in an impressive 2019 debut against the 39-year-old veteran player.
Speaking to PEOPLE in August, the tennis star said that the transition to overnight sensation has been challenging.
“When I was younger, I was just dreaming about winning tournaments and winning slams I guess, and I didn’t think about all that would come with it,” she said. “So like, I guess I had time to mentally prepare for the winning but not necessarily the off the court.”
“But honestly, I’m just grateful that I’ve been given the platform and I hope that I’m able to use this platform in the right way,” Gauff added.