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Coco Gauff's Wimbledon debut comes to a close

DONE: Coco Gauff

CORI ‘COCO’ Gauff's astonishing Wimbledon run, on her SW19 debut, came crashing down 6-3 6-3 to ex-world no.1 Simona Halep on Monday (Jul 8).

The 15-year-old, who is the youngest player to qualify for The Championships in the Open era, commanded more support than her opponent from the No.1 court crowd but ran out of ideas although saved two match points.

Halep, who had only lost one set in her previous four rounds at SW19, reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals for the fourth time in six years with a polished performance.

This was their first meeting, and last year the pair grabbed their only Grand Slam titles together in Paris. Romanian star Halep captured the French Open Singles title while Gauff bagged the Junior Girls Single crown with victory over Catherine McNally.

Gauff beat compatriot McNally - whose SW1 challenge was ended at the hands of Britain's Heather Watson on the opening round - at the Miami Open in March, her only WTA Tour main draw win prior to taking Wimbledon by storm.

But the teenager, who brushed aside US icon Venus Williams in the opening round and last year's semi-finalist Magdalena Rybarikova in the second, could not repeat her incredible comeback when she fought back from two match points against Polona Hercog in the third round.

Halep made a promising start against her initially nervous-looking opponent and swiftly chalked up two break points, wasting the first before her sliced effort beat Gauff at the net for an early lead.

Gauff showed her determination to push Halep and levelled matters after outwitting the 27-year-old with a long baseline rally.

The undeterred teenager held her serve to 15, but suddenly looked jittery and lost the next two games to trail for the first time.

Hustler Halep extended the cushion to two games but gutsy Gauff battled back to 4-3.

The pensive 15-year-old lost her way against Halep's defensive drives to suddenly face three set points.

Gauff's thunderous deep backhand was called out, but challenged and she briefly staved off the inevitable before being crushed 6-3 despite Halep having produced five double faults.

Halep punished the youngster to reel off the opening two games of the second set with aplomb, which prompted Gauff to call for medical attention.

The crowd went wild after Gauff earned two break points, but after squandering the first chance got back into the contest by cleverly forcing Halep to make a backhand error.

Following a short consultation with the tournament doctor because of a suspected stomach upset, Gauff lost the first two points before turning on the style to level the score 2-2 to the loud eruption of the excited crowd.

The American saved two match points but on the third it proved mission impossible against the experienced Halep.

Gauff, who registered three high quality and memorable main draw victories to earn a whopping £175k, will return to Wimbledon next year no doubt ready to prove a point.

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