Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – July 5, 2019 Cori Gauff of the U.S. celebrates winning her third round match against Slovenia’s Polona Hercog REUTERS/Toby Melville
LONDON (Reuters) – Teenaged prodigy Cori Gauff reached Wimbledon’s fourth round on Friday, clawing her way back from a set and 5-2 down to beat Slovenia’s Polona Hercog 3-6 7-6(7) 7-5.
The 15-year-old American, 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 also beat former semi-finalist Magdalena Rybarikova in the second round, had the roaring support of 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.
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.
She dumped a shot into the net in the final game, however, and another went long under Gauff’s pressure before the teenager leapt in the air to celebrate her victory.
Reporting by Clare Lovell, editing by Ed Osmond