NEWYORK (Reuters) – Teen sensation Cori “Coco” Gauff lived up to the hype surrounding her U.S. Open debut on Tuesday, battling back to beat Anastasia Potapova 3-6 6-2 6-4 in a back-and-forth thriller.
The outlook appeared bleak for the 15-year-old American when she was broken to open the second set but Gauff broke back in the next game to seize the momentum and ultimately level up the contest in front of a supportive crowd.
But hard-hitting 18-year-old Potapova, despite needing medical attention to her shoulder, refused to go down without a fight and Gauff had to earn her place in the second round.
Asked how she turned around the match, wildcard Gauff pointed to the fans inside Louis Armstrong Stadium.
“Honestly it’s because of the crowd,” she said. “You guys were amazing. No matter where I was on the court I could hear somebody supporting me and I’m really grateful for that.
“I think I gave my mother a heart attack. My dad looks a little bit tired over there too.”
Gauff entered this year’s tournament amid high expectations after reaching the last 16 at Wimbledon earlier this year.
(Reporting By Amy Tennery; additional reporting by Rory Carroll, editing by Nick Mulvenney)