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Venus Williams stunned by 15-year-old Gauff at Wimbledon

Williams had won four Grand Slam titles before the American teenager was born.

Gauff produced one of the great debut performances at Wimbledon.
Gauff produced one of the great debut performances at Wimbledon.
Image: Adam Davy

TEENAGER CORI GAUFF, the youngest ever player to qualify for the main draw at Wimbledon in the Open era, has pulled off a stunning upset on Court One, defeating seven-time Grand Slam winner Venus Williams in straight sets.

15-year-old Gauff, who qualified without losing a set, defied her tender years and inexperience on such an exalted stage by producing a remarkable performance to dump five-time winner Williams out in the first round.

The American had Court One on its feet on the opening day of the 2019 championships at SW19, sealing a 6-4, 6-4 victory.

“Honestly, I don’t know how to feel,” she said afterwards, remarkably composed. “It’s the first time I ever cried after winning a match. I don’t know how to explain what I felt.

“I definitely had to tell myself to stay calm. I never played on a court so big. I reminded myself that the lines on the court are the same, everything around it might be bigger, but the lines are the same.”

On playing against her hero, Gauff added: “She just told me congratulations and to keep going. I told her thanks for everything she did. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for her.

“Even though I’d met her before I guess I didn’t have the guts to tell her before now.” 

Gauff will face Magdalena Rybarikova in the second round.

Wimbledon 2019 - Day One - The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club Dream come true: Gauff's Wimbledon fairytale continues. Source: Mike Egerton

Williams had won the grass-court Grand Slam twice before her compatriot was born, but the 39-year-old was unable to live with the teenager, who became the youngest female to win a singles match at Wimbledon since 1991.

Gauff was totally unfazed in her first match in the main draw at a major, serving brilliantly, showing great athleticism, hitting 18 winners and making only eight unforced errors in a magnificent performance on Monday evening.

The 313-ranked teenager boldly stated she wants to be ‘the best of all time’ ahead of the biggest match of her life and produced one of the most impressive Grand Slam debut displays.

Gauff, the junior French Open champion last year, claimed the only break of the first set after showing great defence before Williams drilled a backhand wide to go 3-2 down.

She served out the set in a manner befitting her veteran opponent and maintained her intensity in the second set, a double fault from Williams gifting her a 3-2 lead.

They were back on serve when Gauff double-faulted to be pegged back at 4-4, but she broke again in the next game and kept her composure to send shockwaves around SW19 with a monumental victory after Williams had initially saved three match points. 

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Ryan Bailey

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