Australian Open 2020: Gauff repeats Wimbledon exploits with Venus victory

In a rematch of their 2019 Wimbledon encounter, 15-year-old Coco Gauff reigned supreme again over Venus Williams.

American teenager Coco Gauff beat Venus Williams 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 in the opening round of Australian Open.   -  Getty Images

Coco Gauff showed the future is now after vanquishing Venus Williams in straight sets in the first round of the Australian Open.   

American teenager Gauff defied her age yet again, the 15-year-old defeating veteran Williams 7-6(5), 6-3 in her Australian Open main-draw debut at a wet Melbourne Park on Monday.

Gauff produced one of 2019's most remarkable results when she beat five-time Wimbledon champion and countrywoman Williams in the first round at the All England Club.

And Gauff repeated the feat again as she eliminated the 39-year-old former world number one – who withdrew from the Adelaide International through injury – after one hour 37 minutes on Margaret Court Arena.

The first-round match was a standout contest after Gauff announced herself at Wimbledon last year. Gauff raced out to a 2-0 lead against seven-time grand slam champion Williams, who fought back and saved three set points to claim the break back and pull level at 5-5.

READ | Australian Open 2020: Federer in fine form in first-round win

Williams battled well to force a tie-break, but Gauff finally closed out the set after the two-time Australian Open runner-up fired a backhand volley into the net.

The 35-minute second set was more straightforward for Gauff, who fired 10 winners to book her spot in the next round against Sorana Cirstea.

"My mission is to be the greatest. That's my goal, to win as many grand slams as possible," Gauff told reporters after Williams said "the sky is the limit" for her countrywoman.

"But for today, my mission was to win. I didn't want to let the nerves come to me. I know I had a couple of set points, and she played well. I knew I had to take it from her. She wasn't going to give it to me. That was really the mission.

"I think today has been the best match so far I played this year. I was a lot more focused. I think today really showed what I worked on in my off-season."

READ| Serena powers through first round in Melbourne

Asked if she believes she can win the event, Gauff replied: "If I go into a tournament thinking I'll lose, then I'm going to lose.

"To answer that, I respect everyone's game and I respect my opponent, but at the end of the day if I'm going to go against them, I can't say, 'Oh, I'm going to lose this match'. That's not the right mentality to have. I believe I can beat anyone. If it happens, I don't know. But I think that's almost every player's mentality.

"The ones who are the great ones, they don't really fear anyone. You respect your opponent, but you can't go into the match fearing someone, because then you're going to lose, and I don't want to lose."

Gauff added: "I feel like my mindset has changed since the US Open. [At the] US Open I felt like I was on edge every match just because everyone was talking about the US Open before Wimbledon even ended.

"I guess I came to the realisation that I need to play my game, not worry about what people think of me. At the end of the day, I did have three good matches, both US Open and Wimbledon. I still have a lot more to become like one of those big names."

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN
Coco Gauff bt Venus Williams 7-6 (7-5) 6-3

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Gauff – 17/30
Williams – 25/41

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Gauff – 2/4
Williams – 7/6

BREAK POINTS WON
Gauff – 2/6
Williams – 1/2

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Gauff – 58
Williams – 65

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Gauff – 77/61
Williams – 77/40

TOTAL POINTS
Gauff – 78
Williams – 68

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