Coco Gauff’s dream run at the French Open came to an end on Wednesday as she lost in straight sets to Barbora Krejcikova 7-6 (8-6) 6-3.
The 17-year-old was playing in her first grand slam quarterfinal, but trailing 4-0 in the second set, a frustrated Gauff smashed her racquet on the clay court after she double faulted. Gauff ran her opponent close in the opening set, with Krejcikova needing a dramatic tiebreak to gain the upper hand in the match. In the second set, the Czech player ramped up the pressure on her younger opponent, winning the first five games without reply. But the American showed experience to belie her age, saving multiple match points and winning three straight games to make things nervy before Krejcikova claimed the second set’s decisive ninth game to reach the semifinals. “I never imagined I would be standing here one day,” the 25-year-old Krejcikova said on court after her victory. “Already for me this is something I have never dreamed of. I was really playing a great match and Coco is incredible — she is 17, it’s amazing.”
Both players were playing in their first career singles grand slam quarterfinals. By reaching the last eight, Gauff had become the youngest woman to compete in a grand slam quarterfinal since 2006. Despite her age, the 17-year-old Gauff didn’t look out of place on the big stage on Court Philippe Chatrier. The No. 24 seed held 3-0 and 5-3 leads in the opening set, but Krejcikova fought back, saving five match points before eventually taking the 72-minute set. Gauff pinpointed losing the first set as the turning point in the match. “I’m obviously disappointed that I wasn’t able to close out the first set,” she told the media after. “To be honest, it’s in the past, it already happened. After the match, my hitting partner told me this match will probably make me a champion in the future. I really do believe that.”