herald

Wednesday 21 August 2019

Teen star Gauff puts Williams out

Cori Gauff
Cori Gauff

Cori Gauff overcame a 24-year age gap to stun Venus Williams on her Wimbledon debut yesterday.

The 15-year-old American is the youngest woman to qualify for the tournament in the Open era but she played like a veteran in a superb 6-4 6-4 victory.

Gauff served superbly, being broken only once, and showed tremendous composure in her first main draw match at a grand slam, making just eight unforced errors compared to 25 for her 39-year-old opponent.

Williams won two of her five Wimbledon singles titles before Gauff was born and this was only the second time she has been beaten in the first round since her debut in 1997.

An emotional Naomi Osaka walked out of her press conference after suffering a shock first-round exit.

Osaka's last match before arriving at the All England Club was a straight-sets loss to Yulia Putintseva at the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham.

And it proved to be a case of deja vu as the Kazakh again proved too consistent for her opponent.

Osaka led by an early break but could not hold onto her advantage and Putintseva celebrated a 7-6 (4) 6-2 victory and one of the biggest successes of her career.

It was clear how disappointed second seed Osaka was by the defeat as she spoke barely louder than a whisper in her post-match press conference and gave very brief answers.

The 21-year-old has not reached the final of any tournament since winning her second successive grand-slam title at the Australian Open in January and climbing to world number one.

Handling the extra attention and pressure has been a big challenge and, asked how she has picked herself up in the past, Osaka said: "The key for me was just having fun, I guess, kind of taking pressure off myself. I hope I can somehow find a way to do that."

After contemplating answering the next question about how difficult it has been to adjust to her new level of fame, Osaka turned to the moderator and said: "Can I leave? I feel like I'm about to cry," before walking out.

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