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Australian Open: 15-year-old Coco Gauff knocks out defending champion Naomi Osaka, Serena Williams crashes out


Coco Gauff stunned Naomi Osaka to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open, while Serena Williams was sent crashing out of the tournament.

The 15-year-old Gauff has already made headlines around the world but none of her achievements so far could compare to this as she took apart the defending champion in straight sets.

Getty Images – Getty

The teenager looks destined to become a superstar

Gauff, who won just three games against Osaka when they met at the US Open last summer, was rock solid and took advantage of a error-strewn display from her opponent to win 6-3 6-4.

The American is the youngest player to beat a top-five ranked opponent since Jennifer Capriati toppled Gabriela Sabatini at the 1991 US Open.

“Two years ago I lost first round in juniors, and now I’m here. This is crazy,” said the teenager.

“I was just telling myself one point at a time and keep fighting because you never know what happens on this court.

“I’m on Rod Laver Arena, I can’t believe this.”

While it was a memorable day for Gauff, the current superstar of women’s tennis – Serena Williams – saw her hopes of a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles triumph ended by Wang Qiang at the third round stage.

Williams has won seven Australian Open singles titles but will have to wait another year for the chance to add to her collection

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Williams has won seven Australian Open singles titles but will have to wait another year for the chance to add to her collection

When they met at the US Open last summer, Wang won just one game and 15 points, but it was a completely different story this time as the 27th seed claimed a 6-4 6-7 (2) 7-5 victory.

It would have been fitting had the 38-year-old Williams finally moved level with Margaret Court in Melbourne as the tournament marks the 50th anniversary of her calendar Grand Slam.

However, she made 56 unforced errors compared to her opponent’s 20.

The shock defeat was Williams’ earliest exit at the tournament in 14 years.

China’s Wang Qiang salutes the crowd after he Australian Open win

Getty Images – Getty

China’s Wang Qiang salutes the crowd after he Australian Open win

“I just made far too many errors to be a professional athlete today,” she conceded.

“If we were just honest with ourselves, it’s all on my shoulders. I lost that match.

“It’s not about the tournament, it’s just like I can’t play like that. I literally can’t do that again. That’s unprofessional. It’s not cool.”

Caroline Wozniacki’s career, meanwhile, ended with a loss to Ons Jabeur, who made her own Grand Slam breakthrough with a 7-5 3-6 7-5 victory.

The former world number one announced last month that the Australian Open, the scene of her greatest triumph when she broke her grand slam duck in 2018, would also be the stage for her professional farewell at the age of 29.

A teenage prodigy, Wozniacki was a grand slam finalist at 19 and world number one a year later

Getty Images – Getty

A teenage prodigy, Wozniacki was a grand slam finalist at 19 and world number one a year later

“There’s a lot of emotions, a lot of things I can’t compartmentalise now,” said the Dane.

“A lot of excitement. A little sadness. Flashbacks to since I was a kid to this moment.

“The fact that it’s gone so quick but at the same time it feels like I’ve been out here for a long time. Players coming up to me and congratulating me. Just feeling the love from everyone has been very special.”

Wozniacki had staged a trademark fightback to beat Dayana Yastremska in the second round and looked like she might do the same when she recovered from 0-3 in the deciding set.

But Jabeur, the first Arab woman to make the last 16 at a slam, had not read the script and Wozniacki pushed a forehand long on the first match point.

In a tearful post-match interview, she made a joke about the shot that has been her major weakness, saying: “I think it was only fitting that my last match would be a three-setter, a grinder, and that I would finish my career with a forehand error.”

In the men’s side of the draw, Novak Djokovic produced a masterful serving performance to defeat Yoshihito Nishioka 6-3 6-2 6-2.

The defending champion hit 17 aces and lost just eight points on serve during the match, seven of them in the third set.



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