Even as Coco Gauff made her runs at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open runs this summer, the prodigy did not actually beat any player ranked higher than No. 44 in the world. (Venus Williams just so happened to be No. 44 at the time.) What the 15-year-old Gauff accomplished by winning a title Sunday at the Linz Open is, in its own way, more impressive than those earlier feats.
Gauff’s runs at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open both ended in a rout at the hands of a top-10 player—Simona Halep in the fourth round and Naomi Osaka in the third round, respectively. This past week, the teenager picked up her first win against a player in that tier, along with her first hardware. While career projection is a notoriously dangerous game in tennis, any week that looks like this one should validate the Coco hype.
Playing her first tournament since the Open due to the tour’s age-related restrictions, Gauff lost in qualifying and only made the main draw due to an injury withdrawal. She capitalized on that second chance, notching a straight-sets quarterfinal win over world No. 8 Kiki Bertens, which was the best win of her career by rank, by a large margin.
Gauff doesn’t need many more weapons to make a dent on the tour. Whatever the rest of her technical and physical development adds to her game is just gravy. She already moves incredibly well and plays a hyper-consistent style—not unlike Simona Halep, only with greater wingspan and potential for a much bigger serve.
In the final, Gauff beat the hard-hitting, volatile Jelena Ostapenko, the 2017 French Open champion now ranked No. 72. The American’s 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 victory ended on a well-spotted challenge:
The last time any player this young won a WTA title was 2004. Gauff was six months old at the time.