French Open: This defeat will make me a future champion – Gauff

By Sports Desk June 09, 2021

Coco Gauff believes her French Open quarter-final woe against Barbora Krejcikova will ultimately help her to become a major champion.

The 17-year-old was playing in the last eight of a grand slam for the first time on Wednesday, though the occasion did not go as she hoped.

Unseeded Krejcikova won 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 in a back-and-forth battle in which Gauff had her opportunities.

She led 3-0 and 5-3 in the first set as five set points passed her by and at one stage lost seven straight games.

The American, who had 41 unforced errors, trailed 5-0 in the second set before briefly threatening a comeback in a fighting finish and believes the experience will prove to be beneficial.

"Yeah, I mean, I'm obviously disappointed that I wasn't able to close out the first set," said Gauff. "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.

"I never want to give up. I really did fight till the last point. 

"I'm proud that I didn't give up because I could have easily gave up at 5-0 or 5-1 [down in the second set]. 

"I think losing these matches are going to pay off in the future. If I continue fighting like this, other players, maybe if they do have the lead, will start to get nervous because they know I'm not going to give in.

"Obviously it was a great season. I just want to keep continuing to get better. Hopefully next year I'll be better. 

"But I think that I've learned a lot over this swing and I have a lot that I can take with me later into my next tournaments later this year."

Gauff, who confirmed she still planned to play in the Olympics this year, reflected on what had gone wrong against Krejcikova, who will face Maria Sakkari in the semis.

The teenager added: "I feel like the set points I did have I did play a little bit passive. That's not kind of how I want to play tennis. I always want to play first-strike tennis. So that's something I'll work on.

"I mean, for me the biggest thing she played well in the pressure points. She also redirected the ball really, really well, kind of making me make mistakes. 

"I knew she was going to play very smart tennis and play the high-percentage plays. That's what she did.

"Next time going into it, I'm definitely going to focus more making less errors, just trusting myself on the set points." 

A return to Wimbledon, where she stunned the world to reach the fourth round as a 15-year-old in 2019, is now fast approaching for Gauff.

She added: "I'm excited to go back, for sure. My most memorable thing from Wimbledon is just the crowd experience. 

"That was like one of my first matches on a big stadium like that, playing against really great people like Venus Williams. 

"It kind of just was the start of, like, my career, I guess, and making it on the pro tour. So, yeah, I'm excited to go back.

"I'm just happy that right now I'm healthy and everything. Hopefully that keeps up all the way through Wimbledon."

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