Defending Champ Naomi Osaka, 21, Defeats Coco Gauff, 15, in U.S. Open Showdown
Coco Gauff previously practiced with Naomi Osaka two years ago at the Miami Open
Two tennis prodigies faced off in a tournament for the first time in a historic match.
“I just want to say, ‘You guys raised an amazing player. I remember seeing you guys training in the same place. I think Coco you’re amazing,’ ” Osaka tearfully said to Gauff’s parents in the stands.
Osaka’s stardom rose after defeating Serena Williams in last year’s Open final. Meanwhile, Gauff, who became the youngest female to advance to the third round in the Open since Anna Kournikova in 1996, first burst onto the scene at Wimbledon when she defeated Venus Williams. Gauff previously practiced with Osaka two years ago at the Miami Open.
“Obviously she’s an amazing player. She’s defending champion. She’s won two slams. She’s No. 1. She’s only 21. We’re both pretty young. But I’m a little bit newer to the game,” Gauff said, according to ESPN. “I just want to enjoy it, have fun, enjoy the battle. We’ll see how it goes.”
The match was also on the radar of Williams, whom both Gauff and Osaka have looked up to.
“I think it’s super exciting tennis,” she told Forbes. “Coco is obviously much, much younger than Naomi, if you could say that, because Naomi is incredibly young. But it’s shocking to say that Coco is about six years younger.”
Williams, 37, added, “I definitely think it’s the future of women’s tennis. And I’m really excited to just be a fangirl and kind of watch.”