Australian Open: Coco Gauff says Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova didn’t let one match define their careers

Despite suffering a semi-final defeat to Aryna Sabalenka at the Australian Open, Coco Gauff remained positive and is proud of her efforts; we will bring you live scores, reports, analysis and features from Melbourne

Image: Coco Gauff was left hurting but proud of her achievements after a heart-breaking Melbourne semi-final defeat to Aryna Sabalenka

Coco Gauff says Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova did not let one match define their careers after suffering Australian Open semi-final heartbreak on Thursday.

Defending champion Aryna Sabalenka took her revenge against Gauff to make it back-to-back finals in Melbourne.

Gauff denied Sabalenka a second Grand Slam title of the year with victory in the US Open final last summer but her winning run at the majors came to an end with defeat under the roof on Rod Laver Arena.

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Image: Sabalenka (right) embraces Gauff after their semi-final match

“Tough match for me. Overall a positive tournament. I had chances in both sets, but she played better tonight,” said Gauff. “I think it just came down to a couple of points, and that’s tennis.

“At this stage in any tournament, but especially a Grand Slam, whether I lost 6-1 6-1, or like I did today, or in a third-set tie-break, I still think it would hurt just as much.”

The American admitted she thought she had played better in her straight-sets loss than at Flushing Meadows last September when she clinched her first Grand Slam title in three sets.

The 19-year-old world No 4 made such a big impression on the sport’s biggest stage at such a young age that it seems remarkable that her teens will only come to an end in March.

Gauff felt proud of her achievements in the time since she reached the fourth round of Wimbledon at the age of 15.

“Overall, this stage of my life, it was obviously a successful time,” she said.

“I did want to win a Slam as a teenager, and I did that. Obviously today I was hoping to get number two, or at least give myself a chance to get number two. It didn’t happen, but I feel like I’m there. So hopefully I can go only upwards from here.”

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Top 3 fastest serves at Australian Open (WTA)

1. Gauff 201 km/h

2. Gauff 199 km/h

3. Gauff 199 km/h

Most importantly, perhaps, Gauff, who turns 20 next month, said she was still enjoying her tennis, even in defeat.

“I watched these matches growing up and watching Serena (Williams) and watching (Maria) Sharapova lose these matches,” she added.

“When you’re in it, it feels like the end of the world but then when you look at history, they didn’t let one match define their career.

“I’m going to dwell on it but… the sun is going to rise tomorrow. Tomorrow, I don’t know, I’m going to try to go to the movies or something, be proud of myself.”

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