STARLET CORI Gauff registered her maiden win over a top 10 player to progress into the Linz Open semi-finals on Friday (Oct 11). The American ace despatched world no.8 Kiki Bertens 7-6(1) 6-4, sealing success on her second match point.
The 15-year-old, who has experienced a huge slice of good fortune during the event in Austria, has relished being given a second shot as a lucky loser on Monday in her first WTA Tour tournament since crashing out of the US Open to Japan’s Naomi Osaka.
But it was a battle for the French-based teenager to overcome the Dutch top seed in 97 minutes.
The opening set saw both players hold their serve to force a tense tie-break.
Gauff took the lead in the decider with a drop volley winner, then Bertens surprisingly capitulated with a string of unforced errors to gift the teenager the set.
The experienced Bertens bounced back to hold the opening game and forced a break point, only for Gauff to unleash another of her signature drop volley shots to avert the danger and rally back to level matters.
Bertens was unnerved by Gauff’s pluckiness and speed around the court, misfiring and allow a break of serve.
This cushion proved enough for Gauff, as the pair traded service games with the seemingly fearless American triumphant.
She faces Germany’s Andrea Petkovic, a former top 10 star, with victory securing Gauff her inaugural WTA Tour final.