Super-Teen Coco Gauff Eclipses Venus, while Osaka Just Wants to Cry
Usually, no one would anticipate fireworks when a five-time Wimbledon singles champion gets a first-round draw against the WTA No 313-ranked player who had to survive three qualifying matches just to get into the bracket.
When it happened, Coco didn't seem exactly sure how to react.
After all, Coco got interested in and then excited about the game when she was a munchkin watching the Williams sisters on TV as they cut a swath through tennis. Once immersed and showing prodigal talent, she ultimately began thinking that'd be a peachy way to earn a living.
By her mid-teens, it was clear she was on an on-ramp to stardom ...
- reaching the US Open junior final at 13,
- winning the French Open junior title at 14, and
- becoming the youngest player in the pro era to reach the Wimbledon draw at 15.
Those experiences have made her older than her years, and it showed during the first set.
Coco racked up 10 winners to only two unforced errors -- trading powerful groundstrokes at the baseline with Williams throughout -- and never facing a break point.
The die was cast from there.
Yet again, youth is served.
Just like it's always been, in one way or another.
Being real, it was a breathtakingly benign performance by the 24-year-old Kazakh, but that's all that was needed:
For whatever reason, Osaka just didn't wanna be there.
That included the press conference, where she alluded to not having fun right now and then went radio-silent:
Bummer. Sometimes, the pressure-cooker life can have that effect.
So, while Osaka sorts things out, the kliegs have shifted to Gauff, who definitely looks ready for them.
For their age group, the highs and lows can be a lot to absorb.