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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Monday January 20, 2020

 
Coco Gauff

Coco Gauff worked her way past Venus Williams for the second time in as many meetings on Day 1 in Melbourne.

Photo Source: Mark Peterson/ Corleve

Coco Mania has hit Australia.

15-year-old Coco Gauff defeated Venus Williams for the second consecutive time on Day 1 in Melbourne, 7-6(5) 6-3. In a match that featured the tournament’s youngest and oldest players, it was Gauff who maintained the upper hand against the seven-time major champion with a high quality performance that was played at a close clip from start to finish.

Gauff did a great job protecting her second serve, winning 19 of 31 second-serve points.

“She played well, like I said,” Williams said. “Just played very focused and put a lot of balls in the court. That's what you have to do. She'll play well the rest of the event.

Williams was impressed with Gauff’s attitude once again.

“She clearly wants it, works very hard, is extremely mature for her age,” she said. “I think the sky's the limit for her.”

Tennis Express

Gauff, who will face Romania’s Sorana Cirstea in the second round, says she played more aggressive against Williams than she did when they met in the first round at Wimbledon.

“We all know she's normally the aggressor in these type of matches,” Gauff said. “I was trying to put the ball in play, gut it out. I'm glad I was able to. She was striking the ball well and hitting her targets well today.”

Gauff started the year with a second-round defeat at the ASB Classic in Auckland, but showed once again that she is a prime time player who performs well on the big stage. She improved to 6-3 at the majors since she made her major debut at Wimbledon last summer.

“I believe I can beat anyone,” she said. “If it happens, I don't know. But I think that's almost every player's mentality, I feel like. The ones who are the great ones, they don't really fear anyone. You respect your opponent, but you can't go into the match fearing someone, because then you're going to lose, and I don't want to lose.”

Williams, ranked 55, has not been past the third round of a major since 2017, a year that saw her reach two major finals and another semifinal.

She says she plans to play some events prior to Indian Wells, but isn’t sure just what yet.

 

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