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Coco Gauff loses in first round of US Open

Coco Gauff, US Open

American tennis sensation Coco Gauff, who has overachieved in the early stages of her promising career, lost in the first round of the 2020 US Open on Monday in New York. Gauff lost to Anastasija Sevastova of Lativa in three close sets, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4.

The loss is a bummer for American tennis fans who have fallen in love with the 16-year-old. Coco Gauff has already made a significant impression on the sporting public with dramatic, riveting wins at major tournaments over the past 14 months.

She rocketed to stardom at Wimbledon last year, beating Venus Williams in the first round and then beating veteran Polona Hercog in a thrilling third-round match in which she saved two match points and improbably came back from massive deficit.

Coco Gauff’s reputation grew at last year’s U.S. Open. She won two more tough matches to show that Wimbledon was no fluke. She lost to two-time major champion Naomi Osaka, but learned a lot from the experience — so much, in fact, that she stunned Osaka months later at the 2020 Australian Open in January.

Coco Gauff, though not yet 16 at the time of her win over Osaka, had already established an ability to beat more experienced professionals.

Her loss to Sevastova at this year’s U.S. Open is therefore not a setback; it is surprising only to the extent that it hasn’t happened more often in Coco Gauff’s career. Gauff is still well ahead of schedule in her evolution. This result should not cause anyone to reconsider a positive evaluation of her future prospects in women’s tennis.

This is a satisfying win for Sevastova, who reached the 2018 U.S. Open semifinals before losing to Serena Williams. The Latvian almost cracked the world top 10 in the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) rankings and enjoyed a late-career renaissance. She struggled for much of 2019, but this win — after a long layoff due to the coronavirus pandemic — could give her a boost if there is a fuller tennis calendar in 2021.

Coco Gauff committed 13 double faults, enabling Sevastova to break her serve seven times. Gauff broke Sevastova five times in the up-and-down match.