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Tennis: USA's Gauff youngest to qualify for Wimbledon

June 28, 2019 09:14 IST

'Obviously, I don't care who I play I'm just happy to be in the draw but I would love to share the court with Serena. If I played any one of them it would be a dream come true'

IMAGE: 'Obviously, I don't care who I play I'm just happy to be in the draw but I would love to share the court with Serena. If I played any one of them it would be a dream come true'. Photograph: Pat Scala/Getty Images

Cori Gauff became the youngest player in the professional era to survive the Wimbledon qualifying draw on Thursday as the 15-year-old American thrashed Belgium's Greet Minnen 6-1, 6-1 to seal her place in next week's main draw.

 

Gauff, who is combining her practice sessions with her schoolwork, looked like a seasoned grass-court player as she claimed her a third successive straight-sets victory.

"I knew I was the underdog and I was just enjoying it," Gauff, who says it would be a dream to play idols Serena or Venus Williams at Wimbledon, told reporters fresh from walking off court at Roehampton.

"Serena is the reason why I play tennis and why my dad decided to get me a racket.

"Obviously, I don't care who I play I'm just happy to be in the draw but I would love to share the court with Serena. If I played any one of them it would be a dream come true."

Gauff, who won the French Open junior title in 2018, was given a wildcard into the Wimbledon qualifying event and took advantage in spectacular fashion. She will be the first 15-year-old in the main draw since Britain's Laura Robson in 2009.

"I had no expectations really," she said.

"I feel really blessed. My parents never put any limitations on my goals and told my to shoot as high as I can."

Kerber swats aside Halep to reach Eastbourne semi-finals

Angelique Kerber's Wimbledon preparation gained momentum as she thumped Simona Halep 6-4, 6-3 in a battle of former world number ones to reach the semi-finals at Eastbourne on Thursday.

The Wimbledon champion converted five out of seven break points to secure the win and set up a last-four clash with Ons Jabeur.

Unseeded Tunisian Jabeur was made to work hard for a victory over Alize Cornet as she shook off an ankle injury in the final set to prevail 1-6, 7-5, 6-3.

"At this tournament, I'm the queen of losing the first set and then coming back," Jabeur, who has rallied back from a set down to win three of her four matches in Eastbourne, said.

"It's another motivation for me to win, to play better in the second set, but I'm really happy with this win.

"It wasn't easy at the end, I was scared for my ankle, but hopefully everything will be good. I tried to move better, be better on court, and that helped me regain my shots."

World number 10 Aryna Sabalenka faces Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands in another quarter-final on Thursday while former world number one Karolina Pliskova meets Russia's Ekaterina Alexandrova. 

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