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Coco Gauff ends inspiring Wimbledon run with loss to former No. 1 Simona Halep

Coco Gauff
Coco Gauff loses her match against seventh seed Simon Halep. Pic credit: Wimbledon/YouTube

Coco Gauff’s sensational run at Wimbledon came to end earlier today after she suffered a straight-set defeat at the hands of former world number one Simona Halep of Romania.

The seventh-seeded 27-year old Halep defeated the 15-year-old Wimbledon breakout star 6-3, 6-3 to advance to the quarterfinals.

Halep of Romania — Wimbledon 2014 semifinalist and 2018 French Open champion — will meet China’s Zhang Shuai in the quarter-finals.

Coco Gauff, the youngest player in the Open era to qualify for Wimbledon’s main draw, advanced to the fourth round by defeating Polona Hercog 3–6, 7–6(7), 7–5 in the third round at Wimbledon on Friday.

She had defeated the 2017 semifinalist Magdalena Ryabarikova, 6-3, 6-3, in the second round on Wednesday, and Venus Williams 6-4, 6-4, in the first round.

It was a big match for Coco who had been hoping to become the youngest Wimbledon quarterfinalist since fellow American Jennifer Capriati in 1991.

The pressure of expectations might have affected her because she appeared to show signs of nerves at the beginning of the game and later frustration.

Halep broke Gauff multiple times and benefited from 29 unforced errors.

Although she had the support of the crowd which cheered, applauded, and chanted “We love you” after she lost, it was clear that she felt disappointed about her performance against Halep.

She looked despondent and near to tears after her loss and was unable to crack a smile even when she shook hands with Halep

“I was obviously disappointed,” she later admitted. “I mean, I would be disappointed in any loss no matter if I was playing a former world No. 1 or somebody younger than me. I think I just need to go back to work and keep working hard and get ready for my next couple tournaments.”

Coco was also reportedly unwell. She asked to see the doctor during the game and it was speculated that she might have been suffering from an upset stomach.

She refrained from using that as an excuse to explain her loss.

“I wasn’t feeling very well but I still played my best. I’m not sure what it was but I still had fun even though I was losing,” she said.

“I learned a lot about how to play in front of a big crowd and how to play under pressure. I am really grateful for the experience,” she concluded.

Despite her loss to the much more experienced and mature Halep, the consensus is that this is only the beginning for Coco. With dedication and hard work, she could return much stronger.

“I’m only 15. I’ve not nearly gotten or developed my game. I started tennis at six,” she said. “I’m so excited to see, if I continue to work hard, what other success I can have in the future.”

Gauff entered Wimbledon with a WTA ranking of 313, but after her impressive performance, she is expected to rise in ranking to at least 139.

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