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Wimbledon: School girl eclipses Venus to steal Day 1 limelight

July 02, 2019 08:26 IST

Cori Gauff

IMAGE: Cori Gauff caused one of the biggest shocks in Wimbledon history by jettisoning her idol Venus Williams in the first round. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

American 15-year-old Cori Gauff stole the show on the opening day of Wimbledon with a debut victory over five-time champion and her inspiration Venus Williams.


Gauff, the youngest woman ever to survive the qualifying tournament, played like a seasoned performer as she clinically beat the 39-year-old great 6-4 6-4 to earn a standing ovation from an enchanted Court One crowd.

"I wouldn't say I didn't expect to win the match. I knew that I was going to go out there and play the way I play," Gauff, who claimed victory on her fourth match point, told reporters.

"I wasn't surprised that I won. I mean, I was just overwhelmed at the end."

Cori Gauff

IMAGE: Cori Gauff of the United States shakes hands at the net with Venus Williams. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

The American student's victory put everything else in the shade on an opening day full of shocks in both draws.

World number two and second seed Naomi Osaka lost 7-6(4), 6-2 to dangerous Kazakh Yulia Putintseva who had also got the better of her in their recent match in Birmingham -- a defeat that effectively cost Osaka the number one ranking.

US Open and Australian Open champion Osaka appeared close to tears when she spoke to the media later.

"Can I leave? I feel like I'm about to cry," the Japanese 21-year-old said.

French Open runner-up Marketa Vondrousova, the 16th seed, also bowed out but former world number ones Karolina Pliskova, Caroline Wozniacki, Simona Halep and Victoria Azarenka all made it safely through to the second round.

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