Fifteen-year-old Cori Gauff is being hailed “the comeback kid” after she saved two match points before going on to beat Polona Hercog and book her place in the fourth round of Wimbledon.
She battled back from losing the first set and being 5-2 down in the second to win in three, 3-6 7-6 (9-7) 7-5, on Centre Court.
Gauff, known as Coco, is the youngest female player to reach the second week of the tournament since a 15-year-old Jennifer Capriati made it to the semi-finals in 1991.
She is the youngest player to qualify for Wimbledon in the professional era, winning three matches last week against higher-ranked women in the preliminary rounds before knocking out five-time champion Venus Williams in the first round proper.
On Centre Court, the American teenager, who is ranked 313 in the world, was a set down and trailed 5-2 in the second against the 28-year-old Slovenian, who is ranked 60.
With Gauff serving at 30-40, Hercog was a point from victory. But the teenager conjured up a backhand slice winner that dropped right on the line.
Then at 5-3, Hercog had her second match point but she double-faulted and the second set eventually went to a tie-break.
Gauff, who entered as a wildcard, had pounded her chest and shouted “let’s go, come on!” to celebrate a 32-stroke point in the second set tie-break that forced a third set.
Up in the stands, her mother, Candi Gauff, stood up and pumped her fist, yelling “yes!” as thousands of spectators jumped out of their seats to applaud the teenager as she extended her dream to reach the last 16.
“Right now, I’m just super-relieved that it’s over,” said Gauff.
“I always knew that I could come back, no matter what the score is.”
On Wednesday, she beat 2017 Wimbledon semi-finalist Magdalena Rybarikova, 30, in a straight-set victory 6-3 6-3 in round two.
Ranked 313th, the Floridian sensation is set to face former number one Simona Halep in the fourth round on Monday.
Source: SKY NEWS