Tennis: Wimbledon teen phenom Gauff books US Open date with defending champion Osaka

Coco Gauff of the US reacts as she plays Timea Babos of Hungary during their match on the fourth day of the US Open Tennis Championships on Aug 29, 2019.
Coco Gauff of the US reacts as she plays Timea Babos of Hungary during their match on the fourth day of the US Open Tennis Championships on Aug 29, 2019. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

NEW YORK (AFP/REUTERS) - American 15-year-old Coco Gauff advanced to a third-round US Open showdown with top-seeded defending champion Naomi Osaka on Thursday (Aug 30) by defeating Hungarian qualifier Timea Babos 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.

Gauff, who made a sensational run to the fourth round at Wimbledon before falling to eventual champion Simona Halep, became the youngest player in the last 32 at a US Open since Russian Anna Kournikova made the last 16 in 1996.

Osaka continued her bid for a second straight US Open title with a business-like 6-3, 6-4 win over Magda Linette.

After struggling with nerves in her gruelling first-round match, Osaka was calm and collected on Louis Armstrong Stadium court, smacking 13 winners and playing stout defence to dispatch Poland's Linette.

After a one-sided first set, trouble brewed for the world No. 1 when Linette raced to a 3-0 lead in the second on a sun-soaked court.

But the 21-year-old Japanese kept her composure and battled back, hitting a deft volley on match point to seal the win before an adoring crowd including former San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick and former Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant.