Gauff had high hopes of making the Australian Open final, as she played a player she bested a few months ago in the US Open final. Beating Sabalenka was never going to be easy, but the American believed it could be done.
Unfortunately, the semi-final match proved her wrong, and she was okay with it. Speaking after the match with media, Gauff admitted that there is a lot to improve upon if she wants to remain competitive among the best because on Thursday she essentially wasn't, even if the score might make it seem so.
"No, I mean, a loss is a loss. I mean, I'm not too, like, I had my chances, yes, but also I put myself in a good position because she had her chances to easily lose that first set too after being up 5-2 and serving for it."
"Yeah, I think, I mean, at this stage, in any tournament, but especially a Grand Slam, whether I lost 1 and 1 or like I did today or in a third-set tiebreaker, I still think it would hurt just as much."
The loss is obviously very disappointing for Gauff, as he did feel confident before the match, but that's tennis. You win some, and you lose some, and you can never stop improving because nobody else does.
The sport is about competing all the time, and that's what the 19-year-old will do in her next Grand Slam, which will be her first not as a teenager.
"I am disappointed, because I did feel good going out on the court. But, you know, at the end of the day she was the better player. She played those points better. Yeah, I feel like I have a lot to improve."