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Coco Gauff battles past Shuai Zhang into US Open quarter-finals

Coco Gauff battles past Shuai Zhang into US Open quarter-finals
© Reuters
American teenager Coco Gauff reaches the quarter-finals of the US Open for the first time with a 7-5 7-5 win over China's Shuai Zhang.

American teenager Coco Gauff reached the quarter-finals of the US Open for the first time in her fledgling career with a straight-sets win over China's Shuai Zhang at the Arthur Ashe Stadium on Sunday.

The French Open runner-up had the backing of the home crowd throughout the contest but was forced to dig deep to record a 7-5 7-5 win over a player 15 years her senior.

Gauff and Zhang earned two breaks apiece in the first set before the 18-year-old attacked her opponent's forehand and broke for the third time before serving the set out.

As the double faults began to creep in for both players, the Chinese faced an incredibly nervy moment as she went from 40-0 up to facing two break points in the fifth game of the second set, but she managed to save both of them.

Gauff was then broken herself to give Zhang the chance to level the match, and the American squandered two opportunities to earn an immediate break back before Zhang went long on a set point.

A stunning backhand from the teenager brought up her third break point of the game, which she converted before an ace wrapped up a hold in her next service game to bring the scores to 5-5 once again.

The Gauff backhand continued to trouble her more experienced opponent, and she took the first of three break points available to her to go 6-5 up and earn the chance to serve for a place in the quarter-final.

The point of the contest undoubtedly came in the next game, as Zhang sent the incredibly quick Gauff charging all over the court before netting a forehand and cutting an incredibly distraught figure with her head in her hands.

After recovering from that exerting point, the mood of the home crowd was soured somewhat by Gauff's eighth double fault of the match, but Zhang netted a backhand on match point to send the home favourite through.

"It feels insane, Ashe Stadium chanting my name, I was trying to stay in the moment but in my head I was smiling," Gauff said on her on-court interview.

"The first two games were difficult when they were changing the lighting, but maybe when the roof is closed and it's more humid it's better for me - I'm from Florida so the more humid the better!

When asked about her plans for her imminent day off, Gauff responded: "Normally I would play doubles but we lost, honestly I just practice and then I scroll on TikTok all day! I set screen time for myself but I haven't been following it!"

Gauff will take on France's Caroline Garcia for a place in the semi-finals after her 6-4 6-1 success over Alison Riske, while in the men's tournament, Matteo Berrettini and Casper Ruud saw off Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Corentin Moutet respectively to make the final eight.

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