Teenager Gauff set for Australian Open 2020

  • Matt Trollope

American prodigy Coco Gauff is expected to receive direct entry into the Australian Open 2020 main draw after storming into the world’s top 75 this week.
The 15-year-old’s victory at the WTA tournament in Linz on Sunday saw her vault 39 places to world No.71 – well inside the cut-off point for direct entry into next year’s event at Melbourne Park.
She is now by far the youngest player ranked inside the top 100; the next youngest is Amanda Anisimova, the world No.27 who turned 18 in August. 
Gauff’s run in Linz was astonishing, given she fell in the final round of qualifying to 130th-ranked Tamara Korpatsch and only gained entry to the main draw as a lucky loser after Maria Sakkari’s last-minute withdrawal. 
She then went on a tear, beating world No.8 Kiki Bertens in the quarterfinals – her first top-10 win – and former world No.9 Andrea Petkovic before overcoming 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in a three-set final.

I’m still overwhelmed and shocked. I guess it’s crazy to say it’s my first WTA title
Coco Gauff

That victory saw her become the youngest WTA tournament champion in 15 years, after Nicole Vaidisova won the Tashkent title in 2004.
"It’s just literally insane that I got in as a lucky loser and now I’m the champion," Gauff said.
"I’m still overwhelmed and shocked. I guess it’s crazy to say it’s my first WTA title. 
“This was definitely not on the calendar at the beginning of the year, because I didn’t think I’d have a chance to get in, and now I’m the champion, so it’s crazy."
Gauff, who finished 2018 ranked No.875, has enjoyed scintillating progress this season.
She had only turned 15 a week earlier when she won through to the second round of the Miami Open, one of the biggest events outside the Grand Slams.
Her profile then exploded when she became the youngest player in the Open Era to qualify for Wimbledon before beating Venus Williams en route to the fourth round.
That run saw her slash her ranking from No.313 to No.141, and she has continued to thrive since then.
In New York she won through to the third round of the US Open, where No.1 seed and defending champion Naomi Osaka stopped her in their prime-time clash under lights at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
That third-round finish saw Gauff rise to the brink of the top 100.
Her win-loss record in 2019 stands at 29-14; she has won 16 of her past 20 matches.