Gauff into first WTA quarterfinal in Linz

Published by AP

Coco Gauff in action at the WTA tournament in Linz (Getty Images)
Coco Gauff becomes the youngest player since Sesil Karatantcheva in 2005 at the Gold Coast to advance to a WTA quarterfinal, and is now projected to crack the top 100.

Cori “Coco” Gauff has become the youngest player to make a WTA quarterfinal in almost 14 years after the American advanced to the Linz Open last eight.

She progressed to the last eight at the Austrian indoor event after Kateryna Kozlova retired during the third set of their second-round match.

Gauff trailed by a set and a break but was on the verge of a comeback when Kozlova retired with the American teenager leading 4-6 6-4 2-0 on Wednesday.

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At 15 years and 214 days, Gauff became the youngest player to reach a WTA quarterfinal since January 2005, when Sesil Karatancheva did it aged 15 years and 153 days at the Gold Coast event.

“It’s a good accomplishment, and hopefully I can continue to push that to the semifinals,” Gauff said.

“I guess that I’m used to being the youngest to do a lot of things, and I hope that I can continue to do that and enjoy my youth years, because as everyone tells me, it doesn’t last long.”

Gauff is playing in her first tournament since losing to Naomi Osaka in the third round of the US Open and only made the main draw in Linz as a “lucky loser” after losing in the final round of qualifying to Tamara Korpatsch.

She beat Stefanie Voegele in straight sets in her opening main-draw match on Tuesday.

“I just want to continue to use these matches to improve. My dad told me he saw improvements even since the US Open,” Gauff said.

“Right now, it’s all about matches for me, and getting more matches under my belt, as much as possible. I feel fresh and eager to do well.”

Gauff had her major breakthrough at Wimbledon this year where she reached the fourth round as a qualifier, but had never won a tour-level match indoors before this week.

In other results, top seed Kiki Bertens advanced to the second round by beating Masaki Doi of Japan 6-4 7-5, while No. 8 Ekaterina Alexandrova defeated Kristyna Pliskova 3-6 6-0 6-1.

Bertens next faces Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium and would play Gauff in the quarterfinals if she advances.

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