US Open 2019: Naomi Osaka warms hearts by consoling Coco Gauff

US Open 2019: Naomi Osaka warms hearts by consoling Coco Gauff”

Rafael Nadal returned from an extended rest to cruise into the US Open last 16 on Saturday, while Bianca Andreescu rolled on ahead of a blockbuster showdown featuring defending champion Naomi Osaka and teen phenom Coco Gauff.

"I said no because I knew I was going to cry the whole time, but she encouraged me to do it. She has to prove that she's really No. 1 in the world and that, even though she's had a mediocre year (lately), she can still find that "A game" when she needs to".

Gauff sure looks as if she belongs, having gutted out a pair of three-setters so far. "Losing. I went one year and I won four matches in a calendar year".

In the first set, when Gauff won her first game by spanking two straight aces, she screamed "C'mon!" and the fans exploded and chanted her name. Translation: They thought she was overweight. Her tennis journey continues Monday against when she faces No. 25 Elise Mertens for a spot in the quarterfinal.

"It was wonderful, she did awesome and I am going to learn a lot from this match. I think it will prepare me well for Saturday's match".

She added, "The one that I can most compare her game to would probably be Kim Clijsters back in the day, because she moves well and she can stretch out and get to some balls and also play aggressive, using the angles".

In many ways, despite the completely different circumstances, it looked remarkably similar to when Osaka had been comforted by Serena Williams following the controversial US Open final on the same court just a year earlier. For me, when I hear people talking about someone, I want to have the opportunity to play them just to assess it for myself. At Wimbledon, it took a focused performance from eventual champion Simona Halep to stop her in the fourth round.

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Townsend served and volleyed her way to a 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 win and a place in the third round of a major for the first time in her career.

"I mean, juniors, I played doubles a lot of the times, nearly every tournament if I can get into doubles, I'm playing it", said Gauff.

"When you feel pain, then there has to be a change", she said. Also through against all expectations is the wildcard from, quite literally, around the corner, Kristie Ahn, who beat the 2017 French Open champion, Jelena Ostapenko, 6-3, 7-5 in an hour and 48 minutes on Grandstand.

Osaka also saw a bit of herself in the kid she'd just beaten 6-3, 6-0. She hasn't lost a singles match since March, though fell in the first round of women's doubles on Friday to Townsend's team. "You never know what's better or worse", he said of his serene progress this week.

"I just tried to do what I did in the last round and tried to get better, " Townsend said.

Gauff has generated all sorts of attention already by making it to the second week at Wimbledon in July and becoming the youngest woman to win two matches at Flushing Meadows since 1996. No. 26 Julia Goerges.

But she explained after her 6-3, 7-5 victory Saturday over former French Open champ Jelena Ostapenko how it nearly didn't happen.

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