Naomi Osaka brought “Coco Mania” to a grinding halt on Saturday night, beating Americas new darling Cori Gauff in straight sets.
The 21-year-old top seed ultimately had too much firepower for the 15-year-old home hope and triumphed 6-3 6-0 after an hour and six minutes to set up a fourth-round tie with Switzerlands Belinda Bencic.
While the result may look one-sided, the crowd got their moneys worth with two of the brightest talents in womens sport lighting up the worlds largest permanent tennis arena.
There was a nice touch at the end as Osaka invited Gauff to do a joint interview, with the tearful young American claiming she would learn a lot from defeat to the world No. 1.
As Osaka continues her bid for a third Grand Slam title, Gauff will pack bags but can take heart from a terrific debut at her home Slam.
Following on from her dash through qualifying to the last-16 at Wimbledon, Gauff coped with expectations admirably but patience must remain in large supply for a young girl who continues to amaze at this level.
Osaka knows plenty about the weight of pressure on young shoulders.
Just a year ago, the Japanese was hailed as tennis next big thing after downing Serena Williams in a controversy-filled final on this very court and then she backed it up with a second Grand Slam title at the Australian Open.
But seven months on from that win over Petra Kvitova in Melbourne and following a spell of indifferent form, attention had somewhat turned away from the Japanese, with shiny new thing Gauff instead carrying the tag.
Gauff may indeed go on to dominate the womens game – the true heir to Williams throne, perhaps – but at 15 she remains raw and undeveloped, with both her serve and forehand notable deficiencies in her game .
The difference between the two stars was evident as they walked on court. Osaka stood tall, powerful, strong. Gauff looked, well, like the kid that she is.
While Gauffs mental strength, persistence and natural gifts may guide her through matches against lesser souls, Osaka remains a force to be reckoned with. One that is incredibly motivated to defend her title.
As John McEnroe was keen to point out in the buildup, it would perhaps have not been great for tennis if Gauff, at 15, had beaten the world No. 1 six years her senior, but there were signs that this could prove to be a rivalry for the ages.
Both have immense power off the floor and feed off the buzz of a large crowd. Both are capable of true greatness.
For now, only one will be challenging for a major title in New York. But dont be surprised if this becomes a permanent fixture at Flushing Meadows.
Osaka laid down the letter of the law early in the encounter, thumping her backhand in ruthless fashion to overpower her young opponentRead More – Source