Tennis: Gauff laments Australian Open defeat but heading in right direction

AFP , Thursday 25 Jan 2024

US Open champion Coco Gauff said she was proud of herself and heading in the right direction despite falling short of making another Grand Slam final on Thursday.

Gauff
Coco Gauff of the U.S. reacts after losing her semifinal to Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus at the Australian Open tennis championships at Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024. Photo: AP

 

The 19-year-old had her chances against world number two Aryna Sabalenka in their Australian Open semi-final, rallying from 2-5 down in the first set to force a tiebreaker.

But she could not maintain the pressure, succumbing 7-6 (7/2), 6-4 on Rod Laver Arena.

"A lot of positives to take. I felt like today, I didn't feel like I played bad. I just felt there were certain points that I just didn't win," said the American fourth seed.

"So, it's tough with the result, but I'm trying to look at the positives."

It was the last Grand Slam Gauff, who turns 20 in March, will play as a teenager and looking back, she said she was proud of her achievements.

They include beating Sabalenka to win at Flushing Meadows last year and making the final at Roland Garros a year earlier, where she lost to Iga Swiatek.

"I tend to be hard on myself, so I feel like today I was, like, dang. But I think looking back, overall this stage of my life, it was obviously a successful time," she said.

Gauff leaves Melbourne with 49 wins at Grand Slams overall -- only Mary Joe Fernandez (57), Tracy Austin (56) and Jennifer Capriati (50) have compiled more among American teenagers.

"I saw that and it made me feel -- I don't know, I just 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," she said.

"So, 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," she added. "I did want to win a Slam as a teenager, and I did that. So hopefully I can go only upwards from here."

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