Cori Gauff receives French Open Wildcard at age 15 – Black Tennis Magazine | News & Media
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Cori Gauff receives French Open Wildcard at age 15

Andrew Ong/USTA

By Editorial Team

Cori “CoCo” Gauff has had such an amazing start to her pro career with round of 16 and quarter finals appearances in ITF W100 events and a ITF W25 final appearance this year.

A recent surge into the top 350 on the WTA Tour at age 15 has many players and fans scratching their heads in disbelief. It has been quite some time since such raw talent and athletic ability has graced a tennis court.

Most fans see glimpses of Venus and Serena as they watch Cori dismantle seasoned pros in straight sets. In any metric, she is definitely on pace to make a name for herself in the sport of tennis.

This week her attention has shifted from the green clay in Florida to the red clay in Europe as she plays the W60 Saint-Gaudens in France this week. She was able to defeat the lucky loser, Lucia Bronzetti 6-4, 6-4 to now face the 4th seed and 143rd ranked, Harriet Dart in the second round.

This will be a good test for Cori going into the French Open where she was able to earn a wild card into the qualifying rounds of play later this month.

The wild card was secured last year with her dramatic three-set win against fellow American and doubles partner, Caty McNally.

With a sharp game and remnants of a successful run last year, Cori should be able to put herself in contention to play in the main draw during the following week.

On the other side of the coin toss, Whitney Osuigwe was not so fortunate as she was heavily banking on her strong performances in the French Open Wilcard Playoff after winning Charlottesville and reaching the semi-finals in Bonita Springs last week.

Whitney has played great tennis with impressive results to back up the phenomenal potential. Maybe she will be able to play more International and Premier WTA Tour events as the season unfolds where she can then catch her big break to crack through the top-100 rankings.

The 33 wildcard recipients were announced from Roland Garros today as follows:

Main Draw:
WOMEN’S SINGLES
1 – ALBIE Audrey (FRA)1                             
2 – JANICICEVIC Selena (FRA)                  
3 – PAQUET Chloé (FRA)                           
4 – PARRY Diane (FRA)                             
5 – PONCHET Jessika (FRA)2                   
6 – TAN Harmony (FRA)                             
7 – HON Priscilla (AUS)3                            
8 – DAVIS Lauren (USA)3                           
MEN’S SINGLES
1 – BARRERE Grégoire (FRA)2                      
2 – HALYS Quentin (FRA)1                             
3 – HOANG Antoine (FRA)                           
4 – JANVIER Maxime (FRA)                         
5 – MAHUT Nicolas (FRA)                           
6 – MOUTET Corentin (FRA)                        
7 – POPYRIN Alexei (AUS)3                          
8 – PAUL Tommy (USA)3                             
Qualifying:
WOMEN’S SINGLES
1 – ANDRIANJAFITRIMO Tessah (FRA)
2 – BENCHEIKH Loudmilla (FRA)
3 – GAUFF Cori (USA)4
4 – GEORGES Myrtille (FRA)2
5 – JACQUEMOT Elsa (FRA)5
6 – LEONARD Manon (FRA)
7 – LIM Alizé (FRA)1
8 – YEROLYMOS Margot (FRA)
MEN’S SINGLES
1 – BENCHETRIT Elliot (FRA)2  
2 – BLANCANEAUX Geoffrey (FRA)  
3 – CORNUT-CHAUVINC (FRA)
4 – DENOLLY Corentin (FRA)
5 – GASTON Hugo (FRA)
6 – GUINARD Manuel (FRA)1
7 – MARTINEAU Mattéo (FRA)
8 – MULLER Alexandre (FRA)  
9 – TATLOT Johan-Sébastien (FRA)  

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Osaka and Keys in QF at Japan Women’s Open

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Naomi Osaka is on pace for a much needed title after an early R16 loss in the US Open. Her quest for the first title of the year began with a win over Viktoriya Tomova 7-5, 6-3 today. With a inconsistent ground game, Naomi is looking to iron out weaknesses with new coach Wim Fissette who is a proven WTA professional with Azarenka, Kerber and Clijsters as former students of his. Recent news broke five days ago on Twitter announcing the split with Jermaine Jenkins after a slew of poor results in major grand slam events this season.

Sloane Stephens is also riding the coaching change wave after accepting Kamau Murray back into her team. The two have earned multiple titles in 2017/2018 so it can only be upside from here as she now faces Camila Giorgi in the R16 of the Japan Women’s Open. This will be a tough test for Sloane as the aggressive Italian has been on a roll with her most recent final run (losing to Magda Linette in 3 sets) at the New York Open that lead into the US Open late last month.

Update: Sloane fell 6-0, 6-3 to Camila in the R16 match which did not live up to the hype. Sloane will look to recover quickly as she prepares for the WTA Finals later this year.

Madison Keys is a favorite to win here in Osaka Japan, but she has to get past the high ranking vet, Angelique Kerber. Madison has a 8:2 win/loss record against Kerber and is healthy enough to get her third win against such a quality opponent. Madison most recently defeated Kerber in the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati last month 6-4 in the third set.

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Gauff becomes fan favorite

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Cori “CoCo” Gauff played some inspired tennis today in her US Open main draw debut as she was able to hold off the young Russian star Anastasia Potapova 6-4 in the final 3rd set.

In somewhat of a roller coaster match, CoCo regained her composure and played great tennis down the stretch when it counted. Going back to the basics she would eventually dominate points which proves that she is capable to making adjustments during big matches.

Her next round match is against Timea Babos – a tour veteran – who is sure to give her a tough match. However, Coco should be able to use her momentum and confidence to carry her into the next round. Timea has a few matches under her belt as a qualifier, but the more steady play and mix of power should allow CoCo to come through victoriously.

Coco’s side of the draw also includes Naomi Osaka who was able to narrowly escape her first round match today. These two would face each other in the 3rd round if both are successful on Thursday. As former practice partners, Naomi sees the future of women’s tennis in Coco as she recently stated,

“I have actually been trying to talk to her recently, because I feel she’s a little bit like me,” said the 21-year-old Osaka, who last year became the youngest U.S. Open champion since Maria Sharapova in 2006. “This is such a good experience for her. She obviously deserves to play here.”

With a growing fan base, Coco should be able to stand a chance against the current world number one.

In regards to the fans Coco mentioned after the match, “At Wimbledon, my first match, I mean, people were still rooting for me, but obviously there was, like, a lot of people rooting for Venus, where this match it was entirely for me,” said Gauff, the youngest singles player to win a U.S. Open match since countrywoman CiCi Bellis in 2014. “This is my first match where people actually had a chant for me.”

“It’s mostly upside,” Gauff said of the fame. “The amount of people and kids especially that come up to me saying I inspire them is honestly, I guess, better than any match I could win, just to know that I inspire another kid maybe to pick up a racket or go through something they’re facing at school.”

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Serena in question heading into US Open

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By Editorial Team

Serena Williams has made a good case for herself as eventual grand slam title holder this year with only one remaining hurdle.

In the past is was almost automatic to assume Serena would win every final match she appeared in. Tomorrow will definitely not be a routine win for her as she now must face the red-hot Canadian Bianca Andreescu.

Bianca was able to win straight sets for the first time in the Rogers Cup this week as she dismantled Sofia Kenin 6-4, 7-6 in a tight competitive match that could have gone either way. Serena was able to overcome a first set glitch to later win the final two sets 6-3, 6-3.

This is the first time these two have gone up against each other, but it would appear that Serena has the upper hand given her experience and title record.

However, she can not take her opponent lightly in the first set as she has a 25-1 record of winning matches after taking the first set. Serena must get off to a good start and play her attacking style of play. Big serves and cross court forehands must be the theme of the day.

After defeating an embattled Osaka straight sets, Serena should have the confidence to finish the job tomorrow and head into the US Open with much needed momentum.

Update: Serena falls 1-3 to Andreescu due to back spasms and can not finish the final. Serena will most likely rest up and hope can fully recover for the US Open which begins in 2 weeks.

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