Coco Gauff becomes youngest tennis finalist in 15 years

WTA .@CocoGauff is through to the @WTALinz semifinal!Knocking out No.1 seed Bertens 7-6, 6-4

WTA .@CocoGauff is through to the @WTALinz semifinal!Knocking out No.1 seed Bertens 7-6, 6-4

She missed one match point as the German hung in there, but converted her second to become the youngest finalist at a WTA event since Nicole Vaidisova, the 2004 Tashkent victor.

Gauff, who is now ranked 110th in the world, lost the opening two games of the match, but then didn't look back as she claimed the first set 6-4 before a more straightforward 6-4 second set win to secure her final spot. "My first final, a lot of firsts for me here, so I hope I can keep this going".

Gauff fell in the final round of qualifying but claimed a spot in the main draw as a lucky loser, and took that opportunity all the way to her first-ever WTA quarterfinal, semifinal, and now final with her 91-minute victory over three-time Linz semifinalist Petkovic. "Linz is my special place".

'I was fighting for every point, even at break points down, I just tried to get the serve in and make her play a point'.

The Atlanta-born rising star is now set to climb to at least 80th in the rankings next week.

In the final on Sunday, the girl from Florida will play either former French Open victor Jelena Ostapenko of Lativa or Russia's Ekaterina Alexandrova. 'Obviously a lot of players play for the grand slams and want to win slams but I think this is a good stepping stone in the right direction.

Gauff showed plenty of variety in her game as she beat the 75th-ranked Petkovic, relying frequently on well-executed drop shots.

Gauff became a crowd favorite and household name at Wimbledon in July when she qualified, then beat one of her idols, Venus Williams, as part of a weeklong stay at tennis' most prestigious grand slam.

It was a mighty close encounter and Gauff had the upper hand in the pivotal moments, fending off both break points she faced and taking the opening set with a dominant 7-1 display in the tie break.

Gauff had thought she would be involved in Luxembourg WTA qualifying this weekend, but finds herself with more pressing duties in Linz instead.

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