By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Wednesday June 9, 2021
Coco Gauff suffered a difficult loss on Wednesday in Paris, as she failed to convert five set points in the opening set against Barbora Krecjikova of the Czech Republic, and then lost the plot for five games in the second set before mounting a late comeback.
Despite the tough 7-6(6), 6-3 loss, Gauff can take comfort in the fact that she broke through to reach her first major quarter-finals. Additionally, she believes that today’s loss will contribute to her future success.
“I’m obviously disappointed that I wasn’t able to close out the first set,” Gauff told reporters after the match. “To be honest, it’s in the past, it already happened. After the match, Enzo, my hitting partner, told me this match will probably make me a champion in the future. I really do believe that.”
Coco Gauff is the youngest 🇺🇸 to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal since Venus Williams at the ’97 US Open.
Venus also made the final in New York that year… 👀 pic.twitter.com/0uRWHiXdJD
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) June 7, 2021
Gauff’s loss closes the door on an eye-opening clay-court season. The 17-year-old American entered 2021 with just two career wins under her belt on the surface, and finishes the season with a 14-3 record on the clay.
She became the youngest American to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal since Venus Williams in 1997, and also played the doubles draw with the American legend, who is now 40.
“Obviously it was a great season,” she said of the last two months, which saw her win her first clay title in Parma, where she also won doubles. “In the future, I mean, I just want to keep continuing to get better. Hopefully next year I’ll be better. But I think that I’ve learned a lot over this swing and I have a lot that I can take with me later into my next tournaments later this year.”
After Wimbledon, Olympics
A healthy byproduct of Gauff’s success on clay this spring is that she’ll qualify to participate in the Tokyo Olympics this summer. The final cutoff for Team USA is based on the WTA rankings on Monday, after Roland Garros.
Gauff is projected to jump to a career-high ranking of 21 in the world on Monday, which makes her the fourth-ranked American.
“I’m definitely planning on playing the Olympics,” she said. “I mean, I don’t have any concerns. I haven’t really thought about it yet, too much about the planning, all the things that go into traveling. But, yeah, I’m excited to play. I’m just happy that even though today didn’t go my way, I guess my result here contributed to making the Olympics.”