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Cori Gauff, 15, beats Venus Williams
Though Cori Gauff is only 15, tennis people in the know have been speaking in hushed tones about her talent for years.
With her precocious blend of power, athleticism, court savvy and competitive drive, Gauff was the youngest United States Open junior girls finalist in history at age 13 and the second youngest French Open junior girls champion at age 14.
But even if potential is abundantly clear, it is never clear how a teenager will handle the moment when she takes the court at the highest level against an established champion.
On Monday, tennis got an emphatic answer as Gauff, displaying remarkable poise, upset Venus Williams, 6-4, 6-4, in the first round of Wimbledon.
It was the first Grand Slam singles match of Gauff’s career, and it made quite an impression on those who watched from near and far, including Williams, a five-time Wimbledon singles champion. Two of those titles came before Gauff was born on March 13, 2004, in Delray Beach, Fla.
“I think the sky’s the limit, it really is,” said Williams, who was unseeded at age 39.
Later, she also thanked the Wimbledon organizers, who offered her a wild card into the qualifying tournament despite her world ranking of 313th at the time. She and her father and coach, Corey, got word of the offer by phone when they were on their way to southern France to train during Wimbledon at the academy near Nice operated by Patrick Mouratoglou, Serena Williams’s coach.
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