Teen Gauff reaches first US Open quarters

·2-min read

Coco Gauff has reached the US Open quarter-finals for the first time after coming back in each set to beat Zhang Shuai of China 7-5 7-5 in front of a partisan crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The 18-year-old Floridian, the runner-up at the French Open in June, trailed 5-4 in the opening set, then 5-3 in the second on Sunday.

But buoyed by spectators who cheered her every point, chanted "Let's go, Coco!" as the end neared and prompted Zhang to cover her ears with her hands, Gauff improved to 4-0 in Ashe this year. She'd never previously won a match at the biggest arena in grand slam tennis.

"It feels insane. I mean, Ashe Stadium chanting my name?" Gauff, yet to drop a set in the tournament, said during her on-court interview.

"I was trying not to smile on the bench on the changeover. I was trying to stay in the moment."

The 12th seed is the youngest American woman into the US Open quarters since Melanie Oudin was 17 in 2009.

Gauff was also the youngest player from any country in the fourth round of the women's bracket at Flushing Meadows this year while Zhang, at 33, was the oldest.

The whirring of the retractable roof being pulled shut accompanied the start of the second set because of showers that started soon after, and it took a while for the artificial lights to reach full strength. The match proceeded, even though it was rather dark -- and quite humid -- indoors.

"The first two games were tough," Gauff said.

Grand slam doubles champion Zhang served to force a third set but Gauff steeled herself and stood her ground, breaking back for 5-4 and the start a four-game, match-closing run.

Gauff will face 17th seed Caroline Garcia of France, who is playing as well as anyone at the moment, coming off a hard-court title at Cincinnati right before play began in New York.

Garcia eliminated 29th-seeded American Alison Riske-Amritraj 6-4 6-1 to, like, Gauff, earn her debut berth in the US Open last eight.

Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic booked her place in the quarters with a 7-6 (10-8) 6-1 victory over Liudmila Samsonova and will play fifth-seeded Tunisian Ons Jabeur, a 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 winner over Russian Veronika Kudermetova.