Delray Beach’s Coco Gauff is out of the Australian Open but she had plenty to say after dropping a 7-6 (2), 6-4 semifinal match to defending champion Aryna Sabalenka Wednesday night in Melbourne.
Gauff, 19, was on a 12-match winning streak in majors and attempting to be the first player since Naomi Osaka in 2020-21 to win the U.S. Open and Australian Open titles back to back.
While Sabalenka will meet first-time finalist Zheng Qinwen in Saturday’s finals, Gauff was left to ponder the loss while recalling her U.S. Open finals win over Sabalenka last September.
Coco Gauff of the United States reacts in their semifinal singles match against Aryna Sabalenka during the 2024 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 25, 2024 in Melbourne, AustralHere is a sampling of what Coco had to say after the match:
Gauff’s last Grand Slam as a teen (she turns 20 March 13)
“I tend to be hard on myself, so I feel like today I was, like, dang, but I think looking back of, like, overall this stage of my life, like, it was obviously a successful time. I saw a stat that I think I’m up there with Serena (Williams) and (Jennifer) Capriati with the wins at slams. I saw that and it made me feel like I look at the glass half empty, so I’m negative. Then I looked at that stat and I’m like they had great careers. So I’m like I’m in the right direction. I just have to remind myself of the journey and not so much of the moment. I am really proud of myself. I did want to win a slam as a teenager, and I did that (U.S. Open last year)
Coco sees positive in overall performance
“Overall, a positive tournament. I had chances in both sets, but she played better tonight. I felt like I did my best with the game plan that I had. I think it just came down to a couple of points, and that’s tennis. I’m going to dwell on it tonight, but as Brad (…., her coach) told me as soon as the match was over, the sun is going to rise tomorrow and you have a new chance to live a good day. Tomorrow, I don’t know, I’m going to try to go to the movies or something, be proud of myself.
Gauff-Sabalenka rematch decided on serves
“She served better. U.S. Open, she made less errors, but also I feel like I played a little bit more aggressive this time. The U.S. Open I felt like wasn’t like a great match for me. Yes, I won. I think I played better tonight. I wish I could have made more first serves. I think that was the difference. At this stage, in any tournament, but especially a Grand Slam, whether I lost 1 and 1 or like I did today or in a third-set tiebreaker, I still think it would hurt just as much. I am disappointed, because I did feel good going out on the court. But, you know, at the end of the day she was the better player. She played those points better. Yeah, I feel like I have a lot to improve.”