‘Shut up, d***head’: Prodigy’s Slam dream crushed
The stunning run of teenage star Coco Gauff has come to an end at the Australian Open.
The 15-year-old American prodigy was dispatched from the fourth-round by her countrywoman Sofia Kenin in three sets on Melbourne Arena 7-6 3-6 0-6.
Gauff has stunned in her first Australian Open campaign, claiming the scalp of defending champion and No.3 seed Naomi Osaka in a third-round straight sets victory.
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The Florida native burst to prominence last year when she became the youngest ever woman to qualify for the main Wimbledon draw, making an impressive charge to the fourth round. Gauff followed that with a third-round appearance at the US Open.
But after a tight first-set battle, the unseeded Gauff was unable to match the performance of the No.14 seed, who now progresses to her first ever Grand Slam quarter-final.
Kenin's best performance to date was a fourth-round appearance at the French Open last year. She made the second round at Melbourne Park last year.
However the match wasn't without controversy, with the pro-Gauff crowd overstepping the mark on several occasions.
At one point, a fans yelled out "shut up d***head" during Kenin's service motion.
Despite that, the 21-year-old said was thrilled to make it to the quarter-finals where she will face Tunisia's Ons Jabeur, who defeated China's Wang Qiang in straight sets.
"It was such a tough match, she is such a tough player and had a tremendous 2019 and has started off really well," Kenin said.
"All respect to her, she played a great match, but this just means a lot to me and I'm so happy to be through to the next round."
Gauff's performance in Melbourne has prompted social media fun asking "What were you doing at age 15?" and there was a big build-up around her fourth-round match ahead of a potential quarter-final.
But Kenin said she had done her best to block out the hype.
"I just do the best I can. I try to take it like any other match," Kenin said.
"I know she is playing well and I just tried to play my game and fight for every point and just not focus on anything else."
'SHARING THE COURT WITH ASH IS A PLEASURE'
Dual Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova has praised the manner Australia's Ash Barty has handled the pressure of her home Grand Slam, saying she deserves to be the world No.1.
After storming into the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park for the fourth time in her career, Kvitova defied a curse among the women's top seeds with a three-set win on Rod Laver Arena.
The No.7 seed, who lost to Japan's Naomi Osaka in last year's Australian Open final, fought back from a set down to defeat the No.22 seed from Greece, Maria Sakkari 6-7 6-3 6-2.
Kvitova faces a possible quarter-final showdown with Barty, if the Australian triumphed in her fourth-round clash against American Alison Riske.
Regardless, Barty has already done plenty to impress Kvitova.
"I think Ash is great. She has to have such a big pressure on her. She's dealing with it like probably nobody else," Kvitova said.
"That's really something why she is deserving to be No.1 and (have) won a Grand Slam.
"Sharing court with her, it's always a pleasure. Doesn't matter what the score will be but will be nice.
"Ash obviously we have played many times. We played here last year in the quarters. I like her. She's a great person. (It) will be a great matchup if we play."
Kvitova said she was not getting excited about the number of top women's seeds that have already excited the tournament, including defending champion Osaka and Serena Williams.
"I think it's more exciting for you guys," Kvitova told the media after the game.
"Not really for me. I don't really care. Of course I know that some of them lost, but that's the tennis.
"That's the sport. We see how the tennis is open, every week probably we see it. On the one hand, it's surprise. On the other hand it's not really that surprising.
"Yeah. It's not that exciting for me, anyway."
The Greek fans were in full voice in the crowd supporting Sakkari during the match, but Kvitova said they had not been a distraction for her.
"Actually when I was shaking the hand with the umpire, I told him it was like a soccer match today," Kvitova said.
"I mean, it's nice on one side. On the other side, it's the tennis, and it's not a Fed Cup.
"It's strange. But, like, to me, it didn't bother me at all.
"It didn't fire me up. I think my box fired me up."