Cori Gauff admitted she “really only watched” Serena Williams up until eight years old and just later started watching other tennis players. On Wednesday, 18-year-old Gauff defeated 32-year-old Petra Kvitova 6-3 7-6 (6) in the Doha round-of-16.
When Kvitova became a Grand Slam champion at 2011 Wimbledon, Gauff had just turned seven years old. “I definitely watched her matches. When she won her first title when I was seven, I didn’t see that one. I was just starting tennis.
I really only watched like Serena up until probably like eight years old, and that’s when I started watching other players,” Gauff said, per Sportskeeda.
Gauff: It felt a bit weird playing Kvitova
After Gauff started watching players other than Williams, Kvitova was someone who would occasionally pop up on the American’s TV screen.
Now when Gauff plays someone from the older generation, it feels a bit weird for her because she was just a little girl when she first started watching them. “I definitely watched her matches over the years. It’s one of those people that you just never think you’re going to play.
I’d say she’s among the players like Simona and Petra, you know, even past players that I’ve played that now retired, like Petkovic, I just feel like those are players when you step on the court you’re like, okay, I have watched you for a long time, like it’s kind of weird playing you,” Gauff added.
This week in Doha, Gauff got a chance to play Kvitova for the first time in her career. For Gauff, it went well as she was able to clinch a straight-set win over the two-time Wimbledon champion. In the first set, Gauff broke Kvitova in the eighth game before serving out for the first set in the following game.
After winning the first set, Gauff wasn’t able to break Kvitova so the set had to be resolved in a tie-break. In the tie-break, Gauff converted her second match point to complete a two-set win over Kvitova.
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