Wimbledon, England: Cori “Coco” Gauff’s remarkable Wimbledon run isn’t over. The 15-year-old American pulled off another huge upset Friday, this one in a third-round thriller that saw her come back to beat Slovenian Polona Hercog 3-6, 7-6, 7-5.
After taking down Venus Williams in the first round and Magdalena Rybarikova in the second round — both in straight sets — Gauff had her back against the wall after losing the first set and trailing Hercog 5-2 in the second set.
But that’s when the teenager dug down and found another gear. Gauff rallied to force a tiebreak, which she won 9-7, and fed off the crowd at the All England Club to win the decisive third set.
Gauff advances to the fourth round to face No. 7-seeded Simona Halep on Monday.
The 28-year-old Hercog looked to have the match won late in the second set. Hercog, ranked No. 60 in the world, was able to use her low-slicing style and court movement early on to overwhelm Gauff, who entered as No. 313 in the world.
Gauff’s three victories have made her a darling at Wimbledon, as she became the youngest tennis player to win a match in the prestigious tournament since Jennifer Capriati in 1991. After stunning Williams 6-4, 6-4 in straight sets, she then defeated Rybarikova 6-3, 6-3 in the second round.
“You can kind of fake it until you make it, but I’m not faking it, at least right now,” Gauff told reporters after beating Rybarikova, the 2017 Wimbledon semifinalist, on Wednesday.
Gauff previously won the junior French Open title at 14 and had to earn her ticket to Wimbledon by knocking out No. 1 seed Aliona Bolsova in qualifying rounds.
“It just shows if you really work hard, you can get where you want to go,” Gauff told reporters earlier this week. “Last week, around this time, I didn’t know I was coming here.”