Serena Williams ousted, Coco Gauff continues on in Australian Open tennis
MELBOURNE, Australia — Perhaps Serena Williams, now 38, will win a 24th Grand Slam title someday.
And maybe Coco Gauff, only 15, never will earn her first major championship.
Sure felt, though, as if a generational shift was being signaled today at the Australian Open, with a pair of monumentally significant third-round results hours apart in the same stadium: a surprising first-week loss by Williams, then a historic victory by Gauff.
First, Williams faltered down the stretch for her earliest exit at Melbourne Park in 14 years, a 6-4, 6-7 (2), 7-5 loss to 27th-seeded Wang Qiang of China. It pushed Williams’ gap between Slam trophies to three years.
Gauff will be back at practice to prepare for a fourth-round match.
That’s because the 67th-ranked Gauff took the latest step in her quick progression, becoming the youngest player in the pro era to eliminate a defending women’s champion at the Australian Open, beating former No. 1 Naomi Osaka 6-3, 6-4.
Only once the last point had been played did the preternaturally poised Gauff turn into a rather typical teen, joking about wanting to take “a selfie for Instagram” with Rod Laver.