By Mitch Phillips
LONDON (Reuters) – Coco Gauff’s dream Wimbledon run came to an abrupt end on Monday when the consistency of seventh seed and former world number one Simona Halep proved a step too far for the 15-year-old American, who went down 6-3 6-3.
After stunning Venus Williams then saving two match points en route to beating Polona Hercog last week, Gauff was suddenly the hottest ticket in town but she was always going to find it tough against Halep, last year’s French Open champion and the first top-10 opponent she had ever faced.
Bidding to become the youngest Wimbledon quarter-finalist since fellow-15-year-old Jennifer Capriati in 1991, Gauff was by no means overawed, keeping the crowd entertained with some crashing backhands and athletic recoveries, but there were also far too many simple errors that the American was never going to get away with at this stage of the tournament.
Halep, who had given an indication of her form when dismissing the dangerous Victoria Azarenka in the last round, had to work hard before eventually taking a relatively even first set.
Gauff then started spraying he groundstrokes long and was virtually blown away as Halep found her own range. Gauff did save two match points when serving at 5-2 down but this time it was only a temporary reprieve as Halep finished things off in the next game.
(Reporting by Mitch Phillips, editing by Ken Ferris)