Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 25 August 2019

Wimbledon: Cori Gauff, 15, has Roger Federer in her corner as she reaches Round 3

Teenage sensation follows up upset of Venus Williams with victory against Magdalena Rybarikova

Cori Gauff celebrates her victory over Magdalena Rybarikova at Wimbledon on Wednesday. Andy Rain / EPA
Cori Gauff celebrates her victory over Magdalena Rybarikova at Wimbledon on Wednesday. Andy Rain / EPA

Cori Gauff says she is surprised by the stir she has caused despite making her debut Wimbledon campaign seem like child's play.

The 15-year-old sensation, who beat Venus Williams in Round 1, continued her stunning progress by sweeping past former semi-finalist Magdalena Rybarikova.

Like many people her age, Gauff has been wiling away the hours on social media, and her new-found fame has come as something of a shock.

"I wasn't expecting any of this," she said. "A lot of celebrities were messaging, posting me. I'm kind of starstruck. It's been hard to reset. I don't know.

"The last three days have definitely just kind of been surprising. It just shows if you really work hard, you can get where you want to go.

"Last week around this time, I didn't know I was coming here. It just shows you have to be ready for everything.

"Surprisingly social media kind of relaxes me before the match. That's what I kind of do.

"Right now I'm going to keep everything the same because it's been working."

Undaunted by playing under the lights of the Court 1 roof - the match did not begin until 8.05pm - Gauff put in another nerveless display.

It may have been approaching her bedtime but the young American stayed utterly focused to secure a commanding 6-3 6-3 victory in an hour and nine minutes.

Rybarikova has slipped to 139 in the world but she certainly has pedigree, a seasoned grass-court player who made the last four just two years ago.

Gauff is no respecter of reputations, though. Nor is she lacking in confidence, having already declared she is here to win the tournament, and after three assured service games she switched up a gear and broke Rybarikova to love.

A hold to love clinched the first set, and she broke again for 2-1 in the second with Rybarikova unable to find an answer to the relentless, machine-like groundstrokes.

Gauff had a brief chat with Roger Federer before the match, and the eight-time winner will have no doubt approved as two superb serves got her out of a mild sticky patch for 4-2.

Rybarikova desperately wanted to force Gauff to serve out the match but she was having none of it, and as the weary Slovakian dumped a return into the net the teenager celebrated another hugely impressive victory.

Gauff will play world No 60 Polona Hercog in Round 3 after the Slovenian beat 17th seed Madison Keys.

Updated: July 4, 2019 08:41 AM

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