American teenager Coco Gauff has hit a new milestone in her rapid rise up the WTA ranks, as the 15-year-old eased past former Top 10 player Andrea Petkovic of Germany, 6-4, 6-4 on Saturday, to move into her maiden WTA singles final at the Upper Austria Ladies Linz.
Thus, Cori has become the youngest WTA semi-finalist since Nicole Vaidisova in Tashkent 2004 and the youngest American since Jennifer Capriati since the US Open 1991, achieving the feat before Venus and Serena Williams.
"This is definitely unreal, my first final on the WTA", Gauff said after her win, according to Agence France-Presse.
Gauff originally wasn't in the main draw of the tournament, but snuck in as a "lucky loser" after another player pulled out due to an injury, CNN reported. "I guess Linz is my special place, giving me a lot of luck and a lot of happiness here".
'This was one of the highest-level matches I've played.
Her ranking will climb from its current 110th to around 80th even if she loses Sunday to either 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko or Russia's Ekaterina Alexandrova, meaning Gauff will earn a direct spot into the next grand slam, January's Australian Open, instead of having to go through qualifying or needing a wildcard.
"I was fighting for every point, even at break points down, I just tried to get the serve in and make her play a point".
"I wanted to leave the court because I lost", Gauff said of the moment during a September interview on Today.
"But honestly, I'm just grateful that I've been given the platform and I hope that I'm able to use this platform in the right way", Gauff added.
Gauff saved nine of 10 break points and broke her opponent for 3-2 in the second set as Petkovic saved five break points before double-faulting on a sixth.
Limited in the number of WTA events she can play due to her age, Linz marked Gauff's first tournament since NY and she fell in qualifying to Tamara Korpatsch.