How Gauff Missed Out On Unique Chance To Win Wimbledon Thanks To Wide Open Draw

How Gauff Missed Out On Unique Chance To Win Wimbledon Thanks To Wide Open Draw

by Nurein Ahmed

Coco Gauff can count herself unlucky for wasting a golden chance of winning Wimbledon for the first time.

The young American can still leave London with a piece of hardware from the doubles tournament together with compatriot Jessica Pegula, who booked their place in the last eight of that competition.

But Gauff's singles campaign ended rather disappointingly in the fourth-round stage at the hands of the rapidly improving Emma Navarro. Gauff became the second biggest big name to exit the women's tournament after World No. 1 Iga Swiatek.

The top seed's defeat to Yulia Putintseva just 24 hours earlier couldn't have been timely. After all, Swiatek has always been the stumbling block in Gauff's path to winning the biggest trophies in recent months.

This assertion is backed by Gauff's coach, Brad Gilbert, who recently opined that the 20-year-old would have been nailed on to win the French Open last month had Naomi Osaka converted her match point against Swiatek in the second round.

This would have prevented their semifinal clash, which the Atlanta native lost for the 11th time in 12 meetings. But Swiatek's elimination from Wimbledon wasn't the only boost that Gauff received in her title quest at the All England Club.

World No. 3 Aryna Sabalenka withdrew from the tournament just hours before her first-round match because of a shoulder injury. In addition to Gauff, only Elena Rybakina and Jasmine Paolini survived the onslaught of the top seeds who crashed out of the tournament before the second week.

The Kazakhstani is the highest-seeded player featuring in the opposite half of the draw to that of the American. Paolini, who is now the highest-ranked player in the bottom half, was expected to be Gauff's projected quarterfinal opponent until her loss.

Moreover, Gauff's pedigree would have earned her top favorite tag in the quarterfinal against the Italian (she leads 2-0 in head-to-head) and the semis had she got there to play one of Lulu Sun, the sensational New Zealander who is making waves at this tournament, or unseeded Croat Donna Vekic.

But ultimately, Wimbledon remains Gauff's uncharted territory despite announcing her arrival on the big stage as a 15-year-old in 2019. It is the only Grand Slam she has failed to reach the quarterfinal stage or better.


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