On the women’s side, American teen sensation Coco Gauff scored a milestone victory this weekend. The 15-year-old Atlanta, Georgia native won her first WTA singles title at the Upper Austria Ladies Linz, defeating former world No.5 and 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia, 6-3, 1-6, 6-2, in the championship final.
"I’m still overwhelmed and shocked," said Gauff after her victory. "I guess it’s crazy to say it’s my first WTA title. This was definitely not on the calendar at the beginning of the year, because I didn’t think I’d have a chance to get in, and now I’m the champion, so it’s crazy."
The achievement was especially noteworthy because Gauff went from losing in the final round of qualifying to entering the main draw as a “lucky loser” and claiming her first-ever Top-10 win over Kiki Bertens in her first WTA quarterfinal.
"It’s just literally insane that I got in as a lucky loser and now I’m the champion," said Gauff. "My dad told me when I got in, before the first main-draw match, he said ‘You can’t lose twice in the same tournament!’ I’m sure he never thought it would come this far, to being the champion, but I guess he was right!"
It's a remarkable development for Gauff, who was first introduced to DC tennis fans this summer after her incredible run to the fourth round of Wimbledon. The 15-year-old phenom began 2019 ranked well outside the world’s Top-600 and has now catapulted to a career-high ranking of No.71.
"This year has been a whirlwind, and I guess this is a cherry on top," Gauff told wtatennis.com. “I've accomplished all my goals this year that I wanted to. Winning a title wasn't on my list this year, but I glad it happened."
As a result of her historic triumph, Gauff became the youngest champion on the WTA Tour, since Nicole Vaidisova won in Tashkent in 2004, an achievement not even Ostapenko, often curt in defeat, could overlook.
“You have a very bright future,” said the former French Open champ during the trophy ceremony, “and I’m really glad to share the court with you.”