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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Friday October 6, 2023

In the midst of her career-best 16-match winning streak, after her latest triumph, a 6-2, 6-4 win over Greece’s Maria Sakkari, 19-year-old Coco Gauff admitted that it doesn’t quite feel like she has won 16 in a row, and amassed the longest winning streak on the WTA Tour this year.

“It doesn't feel like 16. It kind of went by fast,” she said.

What she does know – and is excited about – is the fact that she believes she has not touched the tip of the iceberg with her blossoming game yet. Gauff may be the hottest player in the sport at the moment, and fresh off her maiden major triumph, where she became the youngest American to win the US Open since Serena Williams in 1999, but she very much believes that the best is yet to come.

More Excited for the Future

“Right now I'm doing these wins, but I don't feel like I'm playing my best,” she told reporters in Beijing, ahead of her semifinal clash with Iga Swiatek on Sunday (Saturday in the US). “I mean, everybody knows I have a lot to work on and can improve on. I think that's what makes me even more excited for the future, is because I know I can play better and I can improve on things.

“If I'm winning right now, not that it will be easier in the future, but at least, I don't know, I feel like some of the wins can be a little bit more straightforward.”

On Facing Swiatek

Gauff will put her winning streak on the line against the Polish juggernaut, who is the WTA’s win leader in 2023, with 61.

The American snapped a seven-match run of futility against Swiatek in this year’s Cincinnati final (she had lost all 14 sets contested against Swiatek prior to that match) and says she is a lot more confident now than she was then.

She also believes that Swiatek deserves more credit for the type of season she has had, even if she hasn’t always met the lofty expectations that have been set for her.

“I've seen some of the comments people are saying, like she [didn’t have a] good season. I mean, she won a slam and was No. 1 forever,” she said, referring to Swiatek’s 75-week run at the top of the WTA rankings, which ended after the US Open. “I'm like, I would dream to have the season like she had this year.”

Gauff, who has been loving her time in China, enjoying breakfasts of fried noodles and nutella – “I like Chinese food so I have no complaints,” she said – says she will enter her tussle with Swiatek with no expectations.

“I think it's going to be a tough match,” she said. “The type of matches I had before, I'm not going to try to put too much pressure on myself. I lost to her a lot of times. I'm just trying my best to close the head-to-head a little bit closer. I'll try to get number two on the board. If not, I'm really happy with how I played this week. I feel more confident going in than I did in Cincinnati.”