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Teenage sensation Gauff returns with a win

WIN: Cori 'Coco' Gauff

CORI ‘COCO’ Gauff, the teenage tennis sensation, brushed aside US compatriot Maegan Manasse in the opening qualifier of the Citi Open in Washington D.C. on Saturday (Jul 27).

The 15-year-old, who shot to fame following her remarkable run at Wimbledon earlier this month, took less than an hour to wrap up a comfortable 6-4 6-2 victory.

Gauff, the last player accepted into the qualifying tournament of Washington’s summer classic, chalked up only her second hard court success on the WTA Tour this year.

And her latest triumph means that she is now just one step away from the main draw, which starts on Monday (Jul 29). American ace Sloane Stephens, the 2017 US Open champion, is the top seed.

Sunday (Jul 28) is going to be busy for Gauff, who shot to fame by ousting the iconic Venus Williams in the opening round at the All England Club. As well as trying to navigate past the last qualifying round, she will host a Kids’ Day event as well as play in a practice match on Stadium Court.

Manasse was competing in only her second WTA match this year and has yet to register a win, while Gauff was back on court having last succumbed to eventual Wimbledon winner Simona Halep of Romania at SW19 on July 8. It proved to be one-way traffic although the opening set saw nerves from both players.

Gauff is a dangerous floater in the draw, having leaped 172 places to become the world no.141 following her incredible exploits at Wimbledon, which saw her become the youngest player since 1991 to make the last 16 at the All England Club.

The tournament at Rock Creek Park Tennis Center runs until August 4 and was started by the legendary Arthur Ashe, then called the D.C. Open, in 1969. The late American icon remains the only black man ever to win the singles title at the Australian Open, US Open and Wimbledon.

And now Gauff aims to make her mark in Washington D.C. like Ashe, with future plans to win majors. But for now the teenager is focused on her hectic Sunday where she is inundated with support from new-found fans.

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