The memories are great and were etched in the mind of Coco Gauff three years ago on center court at Wimbledon, playing against an icon Venus Williams and winning 7-6, 6-3. But it was a different person, the same place and great feelings that made his second trip here a success.
“I’m quite honored to be on center court after Nadal. I think it’s quite special…” Coco Gauff, no. 12 said after beating Romania’s Mihaela Buzarnescu in straight sets 6-2, 6-3.
She was all smiles after the win. A few days before, she had almost thought that her participation would end in the first round. Gauff’s first round was with another Romanian, Elena-Gabriela Ruse who she blundered a lot with but still got through the tough round to win 2-6, 6-3, 7-5.
“The first rounds are always difficult for me because it’s the most nerve-wracking…” Coco laughed, so happy that this match is now over. She was asked in court about her time against Ruse, which had a bit of dread, suspense, and frustration beyond compare.
Slips, misses and tons of loss of rhythm went against Gauff in that first set and she recalls that “In the middle of the first set I was a little panicked… the worst thing that could ever happen. happen, I lose.
This is not the end of the world. That’s why I think I started to play a little bit better,” she said with a laugh. But that was all behind her as she pushed the butterflies while playing against Buzarnescu and stood up. put to work.
The grass surface was still a compromise as she had taken a fall in game six of the second set, but she made up for it and kept playing. The Romanian put Gauff on the ropes a bit with sharp cross-angle shots pushing her to create errors.
Still, the teenager gave her the same treatment and won plenty of rallies in the opening set of their 6-2 win. Buzarnescu was constantly pushing Coco out of position, causing more unforced errors, but Gauff had his trademark crosscuts that let the Romanian kick the ball into the net.
The games were tied in the final set but Coco pushed on, gaining more confidence the more she could do it and win. The final set was 5-3 in favor of Gauff and she knew now was not the time to make mistakes.
pulled her own special recipe of serves that literally won the game, the set, and the match for her with four consistent aces. It was a done deal and now Gauff will face another American, Amanda Anisimova. They had only met once in their career at the 2021 Parma Open in Italy, where Gauff was the winner.
The 18-year-old’s time at Wimbledon is shaping up to be brilliant and if she continues to implement her excellent playing strategies like in the two rounds, the results will be very satisfying. As Gauff said “the first laps are always difficult…”
Well, she’s stepping into the third and her performances on the grass are looking more classy and successful as her time at Wimbledon continues.