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.