15-year-old Gauff stuns defending champion Osaka

Just hours after Wang had beaten Serena in three sets at Rod Laver Arena, 15-year-old Gauff stunned defending champion Naomi Osaka 6-3 6-4 on the same court to blow the second quarter of the women’s draw wide open. 
The American teenage sensation needed just 67 minutes to complete the biggest upset of the tournament so far, a victory sending her through to the second week of a Grand Slam event for the second time; she also reached the fourth round at Wimbledon 2019. 
The American teenage sensation needed just 67 minutes to complete the biggest upset of the tournament so far, a victory sending her through to the second week of a Grand Slam event for the second time; she also reached the fourth round at Wimbledon 2019. 

The match was not supposed to unfold in this manner.

The last time Osaka and Gauff met, in the third round of last year’s US Open, the Japanese star had blown her overwhelmed opponent off the court, winning 6-3 6-0 in 65 minutes.

In that match, Gauff struggled to land first serves or win many of the points when she did, and also struggled to live with Osaka’s explosive power.

This time around, just four months later, the improvement in Gauff’s game was jaw-dropping.

Serving generally bigger, she landed 75 per cent of her first serves – as compared with 45 per cent in New York – and as a result began far more rallies on the front foot.

And when points played out from the back of the court, Gauff was Osaka’s equal this time; while she only finished with six winners to Osaka’s 17, she forced 24 errors from Osaka’s racquet – Osaka only managed to make Gauff err 11 times – and kept her unforced error tally far lower.

The composed nature of the performance stunned everyone. The Rod Laver Arena crowd. Osaka. And Gauff herself.

“Oh my god, I don’t even know (where that performance came from) … honestly like, what is my life?” Gauff laughed on court.

“Two years ago, I lost first round in juniors. And now I’m here. This is crazy. Oh my gosh, I’m on Rod Laver Arena, like, I can’t believe this (laughter).”

She later added in press: “Definitely (this victory) has to be somewhere around the top. I thought I played really well today and I was pretty composed and really calm.

“(This time I was ready for) the pace of her ball. She definitely plays faster than most players. I think at US Open I wasn’t really prepared for that. And today I definitely showed that I worked on that in the off-season.”

Osaka arrived at her press conference shortly after departing the stadium, a little shell-shocked.