It is well deserved. She hasn’t dropped a set in the entire tournament, and on the court against compatriot Stephens – a player 11 years her senior – 18th-seeded Gauff was a picture of composure for the majority of the match .
While Stephens fell into passive playing patterns, Gauff was aggressive and showed great anticipation throughout, and was tough to beat on every point. After suppressing Stephens’ fightback in the closing stages of the first set, she ran away with the second and only faltered serving for the match. Two double faults and a few errors were the only signs of nervousness, but she cleaned up at the next opportunity, winning 7-5, 6-2. Her winning form also continued in doubles later on Tuesday, where she advanced to the quarter-finals with American Jessica Pegula.
In singles, she will face unseeded Italian Martina Trevisan in the semi-finals, where she will be the big favorite.
Clay is a surface she has adopted since the age of 11, when she began training in France at Patrick Mouratoglou’s academy. She won the junior title at Roland Garros aged just 14 – just four years ago.
Early success aside, finding the time to act at her age this season has proven the difference, she said. “Other players in general disappear from life and we think tennis is the most important thing in the world – it’s not,” she said, adding: “I’m just enjoying life “Before, I was so focused that I didn’t want to ride around town because I thought it had to be: tennis, tennis, tennis. Now I’m going to go into town and go for a bike ride.”