15-year-old Gauff gets her first WTA trophy

LINZ (Austria) • Teenage prodigy Coco Gauff yesterday won her first WTA title following a 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 victory over former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in the final in Linz that saw her hold her first trophy aloft aged 15.

The American, who entered the field only as a lucky loser after failing to qualify, completed a dream week in Austria. She became the youngest player to win a WTA event since Czech Nicole Vaidisova, who triumphed in Vancouver and Tashkent, Uzbekistan two months apart in 2004.

"I'll remember this day for the rest of my life," a delighted Gauff said after soaking in a standing ovation from the 3,000-strong crowd. "I want to thank God for always supporting me like I wouldn't be here without him.

"It's been an amazing week and I hope to come back in the future."

Gauff will shoot up from 110th in the rankings into the 80s when the WTA rankings are released today.

The hype surrounding her has grown exponentially this year after solid performances this summer at both Wimbledon and the US Open.

And Gauff's displays in Linz - she is the youngest American to triumph on the Tour since Jennifer Capriati's Toronto triumph in 1991 - shows there is much more to come from the fast-improving teenager.

 DPA
PHOTO: DPA

She had to make a recovery in the final set after sweeping the opener, but losing serve three times in the second as her opponent levelled.

But Gauff came alive in the third set, going up two breaks before Ostapenko managed to save a pair of match points while trailing 5-1.

The Latvian was, however, unable to extend her fightback as the crowd favourite closed out the victory a game later, with the Hawk-Eye electronic technology ruling her return long on the third match point.

Ostapenko later hailed Gauff as "having a bright future", adding: "Well done today to Coco.

"It was a pleasure to share the court with you today. This has been a tough week for me, but I'm so glad to have made it to the final, even if the result was not what I wanted."

With her debut week on the European indoor circuit a roaring success, Gauff is now scheduled to compete this week in Luxembourg to wrap up her WTA season.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 14, 2019, with the headline '15-year-old Gauff gets her first WTA trophy'. Print Edition | Subscribe