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Gauff in disbelief with US Open glory now beckoning
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Press Association
Coco Gauff celebrates her win against Karolina Muchova (John Minchillo/AP)
Coco Gauff celebrates her win against Karolina Muchova (John Minchillo/AP)

When Coco Gauff lost to Sofia Kenin in the first round at Wimbledon just over two months ago, the 19-year-old admitted it was time to go back to the drawing board.

Whatever she did, it worked. The American idol has won 17 of her last 18 matches since that surprise day-one defeat, picking up titles in Washington and Cincinnati, and on Saturday she will face Aryna Sabalenka in her first US Open final.

“Right now, I’m very frustrated and disappointed,” Gauff said in SW19. “It makes me want to work even harder.

“I feel like I’ve been working hard but clearly it’s not enough. I have to go back to the drawing board and see where I need to improve.”

Since then Gauff has linked up with American coach Brad Gilbert, tidied up her susceptible forehand and zipped through the field at Flushing Meadows.

“Yeah, definitely after Wimbledon I wasn’t expecting to do well honestly in this hard-court season, so I’m really proud of the way I have been able to turn this season around for me,” she said.

“I think, honestly, when I had that at Wimbledon I was really sort of thinking about the off-season and preparing for next year. You know, I still think I have a lot to improve, but yeah, 100 per cent I wasn’t thinking these results would happen.

“Even after DC, I didn’t think this would happen. Even after Cincy, I didn’t think this would happen. I’m really proud of myself, and like I said, there is still a long way to go.

“Yeah, I think I can improve a lot, but how I have been able to manage with the game I have now is something that I’m happy with.”

Gauff dispatched Karolina Muchova in straight sets in their protest-interrupted semi-final, before Sabalenka came from a bagel down to beat another American, Madison Keys, in a deciding tie-break.

The Belarusian, who will become world number one on Monday, said: “Going into this final, I think I just have to focus on myself and prepare myself for another fight.

“No matter what, just keep fighting and keep playing my best and do my best. You know, like, what else can you do? You just have to be there and you have to fight for it.

“Coco, I mean, she’s moving really well. She’s hungry. She kind of like has nothing to lose. She knows that the crowd is going to support her. I think that’s what makes her a really difficult opponent.

“I’m still hoping that maybe some of them will be supporting me. Just a little bit. Just sometimes. Please?”

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