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Dublin: 12 °C Wednesday 16 October, 2019

Gauff's Wimbledon fairytale continues as American teen eases through

The 15-year-old defeated 2017 semi-finalist Magdalena Rybarikova under the Court One roof.

Gauff is through to the last 32 at Wimbledon.
Gauff is through to the last 32 at Wimbledon.
Image: Alastair Grant

CORI GAUFF, THE 15-year-old who stunned five-time champion Venus Williams in the first round, continued her dream Wimbledon debut on Wednesday evening when she eased into the last 32.

Gauff, ranked 313, defeated 2017 semi-finalist Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia 6-3, 6-3 under the new Court One roof.

The American teenager, already the youngest player since 1991 to win a main draw match at Wimbledon, goes on to face Polona Hercog of Slovenia for a place in the last 16.

Gauff is the youngest player in the last 32 since Jennifer Capriati, also 15, went all the way to the semi-finals 28 years ago.

“I played well especially on the pressure points,” she said afterwards.

“I’m just still shocked that I’m even here. I think I can beat anyone. If I don’t think I can win the match then I won’t even step on the court.” 

Gauff looked sharp from the off, leaving her Slovakian opponent to watch helplessly as she ran down drop shots and ripped winner after winner down the lines with both forehand and backhand, closing out the win with her second service break of a match that lasted 69 minutes.

Hercog, who upset 17th-seed Madison Keys in straight sets, awaits Gauff in round three. 

Wimbledon 2019 - Day Three - The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club Candi Gauff celebrates her daughter's win on Court One. Source: Mike Egerton

Gauff had a long wait before finally taking to the grass, with the match moved under the roof on Court One.

If the delay had an impact, however, Gauff did not let it show, breaking Rybarikova to go up 4-2 before consolidating her lead in a service game that saw her run down seemingly everything the 30-year-old threw at her. 

Gauff built on that momentum with an early break in the second, taking a 2-1 lead when a Rybarikova forehand on double break point went long.

She continued to hammer away, never facing break point on her own serve, before Rybarikova put a backhand into the net on match point to end it — her 23rd unforced error of the contest to just 10 by Gauff. 

The loss represented another disappointing stint at the All England Club for Rybarikova, who first played in the main draw at Wimbledon in 2008, when Gauff was four. 

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Ryan Bailey

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