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Coco Gauff seals her maiden trip to the US Open quarterfinals after beating Zhang Shuai

A heated Coco Gauff seals her maiden trip to the US Open quarterfinals after beating China’s Zhang Shuai in a dramatic straight set victory

  • Coco Gauff defeated the Chinese Zhang Shuai 7-5, 7-5 at the US Open on Sunday
  • The 18-year-old had to dig deep after falling 5-3 behind Zhang in the second set
  • The starlet secured a place in the quarterfinals of the Grand Slam for the first time

American starlet Coco Gauff secured her place in the quarterfinals of the US Open with a clear set win over China’s Zhang Shuai.

The 18-year-old wagged the finger and showed the skill that has made her a contender for the US Open championship in a 7-5, 7-5 win over Zhang Shuai.

Gauff had to dig deep to pick up a win over Zhang in a duel between the youngest and oldest remaining player in women’s singles.

US star Coco Gauff secured her place in the quarterfinals of the US Open with a clear win in the set

US star Coco Gauff secured her place in the quarterfinals of the US Open with a clear win in the set

The 18-year-old became a US Open contender in a 7-5, 7-5 win over Zhang Shuai (pictured).

The 18-year-old became a US Open contender in a 7-5, 7-5 win over Zhang Shuai (pictured).

Gauff waved his fingers like Dikembe Mutombo's trademark as she led the second set

Gauff waved his fingers like Dikembe Mutombo’s trademark as she led the second set

The 12th-ranked American beat Zhang 5-3 in the second set, where she was just a point from defeat, but twice broke her 33-year-old opponent en route to four straight games to clinch the win gain

Spurred on by the crowd cheering her every point, they sang ‘Let’s go, Coco!’ As the end drew near, prompting Zhang to put his hands over his ears, Gauff improved to 4-0 at Ashe this year. She had never won a match in the largest arena in Grand Slam tennis before.

Gauff had the New York crowd firmly on her side and fans erupted in the third set as she wagged her finger like Dikembe Mutombo’s signature move after taking a 6-5 lead in the second set.

The No. 12 seed trailed Zhang 5-3 in the second set but managed to break her 33-year-old opponent twice

The No. 12 seed trailed Zhang 5-3 in the second set but managed to break her 33-year-old opponent twice

Zhang her ears because of the noise from the home crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium

Zhang her ears because of the noise from the home crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium

“It feels crazy. I mean Ashe Stadium chanting my name?’ Gauff, who is yet to lose a set in the tournament, said during her on-pitch interview. “I tried not to smile when changing on the bench. I tried to stay in the moment.

18-year-old Gauff is in the quarterfinals of the US Open for the first time in her career, playing against Caroline Garcia from France. Gauff is the youngest American to reach the quarterfinals of the US Open since Melanie Oudin was 17 in 2009.

Both Gauff and Zhang started primarily from the baseline, trading powerful groundstrokes, particularly on the backhand side, which both players favor.

And the longer the slugfest, the more successful Gauff was, picking up 45 points that lasted five or more shots while Zhang won 26 of those.

Now 12th-seeded Gauff will take on No.17 Caroline Garcia of France, who is playing as well as anyone at the moment and clinched a hard-court title in Cincinnati just before the game in New York.

Garcia eliminated No. 29 Alison Riske-Amritraj 6-4, 6-1 to join Gauff in earning their first spot in the US Open quarterfinals.

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Maureen Mackey

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