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PIX: Gauff's dream run continues; Humbert sets up Djokovic tie

Last updated on: July 06, 2019 09:22 IST

Cori Gauff

IMAGE: Cori Gauff celebrates winning her third round match against Slovenia's Polona Hercog at Wimbledon on Friday night. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

Fifteen-year-old Cori Gauff clawed her way back from a set and 5-2 down and saved two match points to beat Slovenia's Polona Hercog 3-6, 7-6(7), 7-5 on Friday and reach the Wimbledon fourth round.

The American teenager, ranked 313th in the world, had earned a match on Centre Court after capturing the public's imagination with her giant-killing exploits, including ousting former champion Venus Williams in the first round.

 

Gauff, who beat former semi-finalist Magdalena Rybarikova in the second round, was roared on by the crowd but found it hard at first to cope with 28-year-old Hercog's heavy groundstrokes and big serve.

She showed remarkable composure, however, to fight back against the 60th-ranked Slovenian, who failed to convert two match points in the second set.

"I always knew I could come back no matter what the score is, I just went for my shots," Gauff, nicknamed Coco, said after leaving the court to warm applause.

"The crowd was amazing. Even when I was down match point they were still cheering me on."

Hercog needed treatment on her back after the second set and slumped to 4-1 in the third but she too fought back in the tense duel.

"I’m relieved it’s over - she was playing unbelievably," Gauff said.

Hercog dumped a shot into the net in the final game and another went long under Gauff's pressure before the teenager leapt in the air to celebrate her victory as her proud parents applauded from the players' box.

Gauff is the youngest player to qualify for Wimbledon in the Open era and the youngest to reach the fourth round since American Jennifer Capriati, also aged 15, in 1991.

She faces seventh seed Simona Halep, a former world number one, in the last 16.

Humbert sets up Djokovic tie

Ugo Humbert reacts during his third round match against Felix Auger-Aliassime.

IMAGE: Ugo Humbert reacts during his third round match against Felix Auger-Aliassime. Photograph: Hannah McKay/Reuters

Felix Auger-Aliassime’s rapidly-rising star fizzled out at Wimbledon on Friday as the 18-year-old was comprehensively outshone by Frenchman Ugo Humbert in a tussle between the two youngest players left in the men’s draw.

Such is Auger-Aliassime’s obvious potential that the 19th seed had been touted as an outside bet to go all the way, but those predictions looked far-fetched as the Canadian was brushed aside 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 by 21-year-old Humbert in a one-sided third-round tie.

The French left-hander, ranked 66th in the world, had already achieved his best Grand Slam result before Friday’s win, and will now face Novak Djokovic in a “dream” last-16 tie.

“Maybe the best match of my young career,” he said about the prospect of facing the world number one.

Auger-Aliassime described his performance as “pretty embarrassing” and said the pressure had taken a toll but — when the initial pain of the defeat passes — he will be able to take positives from his Wimbledon debut.

In his two victories at the All England Club, as well as in his semi-final run at Queen’s in the buildup, he looked the real deal.

In the lead-up to Friday’s match, he told those predicting a shot at immediate success to “relax... I’m 18.”

Yet even his close contemporaries were fuelling expectations, with sixth-ranked Stefanos Tsitsipas, a stage ahead of the Canadian in his development, putting Auger-Aliassime’s talent on a pedestal.

Serena-Murray's mixed doubles match rescheduled

Serena Williams and Andy Murray's mixed doubles first-round match at Wimbledon was cancelled on Friday evening by organisers, who rescheduled it to be played on Saturday.

The two tennis stars had teamed up on Wednesday to play in the event. Serena is still competing in the singles, while Murray hasn't played singles since the start of the year because of injury, but appears to be making a tentative comeback through doubles.

The celebrity pair had been due to play Andreas Mies and Alexa Guarachi on Centre Court, but moments after the preceding match went to a third set at around 7:15pm local time, organisers announced the mixed doubles clash was being cancelled.

It was later rescheduled for Saturday on a court, and at a time, “to be arranged”.

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