American teenager Cori “Coco” Gauff upset one of her idols and five-time champion Venus Williams in the opening round of the Wimbledon Championships on Monday, winning her first ever Grand Slam main draw match 6-4, 6-4.
“This is the first time I ever cried after winning a match,” said Gauff. “I never thought this would happen. I don’t know how to explain it. I’m literally living my dream. Not many people get to say that.”
Just days before, Gauff became the youngest player to ever come through qualifying at Wimbledon, and the 15-year-old continued her historic run on Monday. Displaying no signs of nerves or inexperience, Gauff hit just eight unforced errors and converted on all three of her break points in the match, and calmly served out the match up 5-4 in the second set.
“I definitely had to tell myself to stay calm during the match,” added Gauff. “I never played on a court that’s so big. I had to remind myself that the lines are the same size as any other court. When we shook hands she told me, ‘congratulations and to keep going and good luck’. I said ‘thank you for everything you’ve done’—I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for her.”
Gauff moves on to play Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova, who pulled off an upset of her own as she defeated 10th seed Aryna Sabalenka 6-2, 6-4.
World number two Naomi Osaka saw her tournament come to a close in the opening round as Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan took advantage of 38 unforced errors from the two-time Grand Slam champion to win 7-6(4), 6-2.
Seventh-seed Simona Halep came back from 2-5 down in the second set to beat Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-4, 7-5.
“My main goal this tournament is to be positive; it’s all about the attitude,” said Halep. “Today, I showed myself that I could fight until the end and never give up. If I do that in every match I play, I’m really happy.”
Halep moves on to play compatriot Mihaela Buzarnescu.
On the men’s side, while defending champion and top-seed Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka, Kevin Anderson and Milos Raonic all moved through in straight sets, sixth-seed Alex Zverev and seventh-seed Stefanos Tsitsipas were both eliminated on Monday.
Jiri Vesely took out Zverev 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5, while Thomas Fabbiano held of Tsitsipas 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6-7(8), 6-3.