17-Year-Old Coco Gauff Becomes Youngest American To Reach A Grand Slam Quarterfinal Since 1997

Coco Gauff is the last American woman or man standing at the French Open.

The 17-year-old is also the youngest American to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal since Venus Williams at the U.S. Open in 1997.

The No 24 seed advanced to the quarters with a 6-3, 6-1 destruction of No. 25 Ons Jabeur of Tunisia in 53 minutes and will next face Barbora Krejčíková of the Czech Republic on Tuesday. Gauff is the youngest Grand Slam quarterfinalist since Nicole Vaidisova reached the last eight in Paris in 2006, and the youngest American quarterfinalist at Roland Garros since Jennifer Capriati in 2003.

“It means a lot to me,” Gauff told reporters. “I have lost in the fourth round a couple times so it feels good to get over that hurdle. Today I played probably my best match so far in the tournament.”

After fellow Americans Sloane Stephens and Sofia Kenin, the runner-up last October, both lost in straight sets Monday, it left Gauff as the last American man or woman standing in Paris.

23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams lost her fourth-round match on Sunday.

Gauff has been keeping it light by playing UNO with her parents, Corey and Candi, in her free time, but she’s competitive at that, too.

She said she has won 16 games, her father 11 and her mother 10.

“I have a strategy that I have against my parents, I know how they play,” she said. “I’m not going tot share it because my dad watches my interviews and I don’t want him to know what happens.”

That competitive nature allowed her to raise her intensity while staying calm and collected despite needing four match points to finish off Jabeur.

“I feel like all my matches have been — I don’t know how to say it, but straightforward wins, like no crazy three sets and stuff,””Gauff said. “As we know, I have had a lot of those in the past.

“I just feel like this has been the most consistent tennis I have played at this level. Hopefully I can keep that going.”

Gauff first broke onto the scene in 2019 when, at 15, she reached the fourth round at Wimbledon, beating Venus Williams in the first round, and then the third round at the U.S. Open that year before losing to Naomi Osaka.

Gauff needed four match points at 5-1 to earn the victory on Jabeur’s serve, but the 17-year-old got it done in the end. Now she’s through to her first major quarterfinal — and on clay — not grass or a hardcourt.

“I’m definitely still learning [on clay], I’m going to always still be learning no matter how many matches I win,” Gauff said. “But for me, it’s just being patient. And shot selection I think is really important on clay because you’re not going to have too many outright winners on clay just because it’s slower and gives more time for your opponent to get the ball.”

“I think clay is probably the surface you can use the whole court the most,” Gauff continued. “I think it’s important that I continue to mix up how I play so my opponents don’t really know what to expect.”

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