NEW YORK (AFP): Coco Gauff thrashed Jelena Ostapenko in straight sets to reach the semi-finals of the US Open for the first time on Tuesday.
American sixth seed Gauff dominated Latvia’s 20th seed Ostapenko from start to finish, winning 6-0, 6-2 in just 1hr 8min.
Gauff, 19, will face either Czech 10th seed Karolina Muchova or Romania’s Sorana Cirstea in the last four on Thursday.
Gauff, beaten in the quarter-finals last year, is the first American teenager to reach the US Open semi-finals since 2001.
“It feels great,” Gauff said. “Last year I left in the quarter-final stage and I wanted to do better this year.”
On Tuesday’s evidence, the American teenager will head into the last four brimming with confidence after producing a superb display to overwhelm Ostapenko.
Ostapenko had produced the shock of the tournament in the last 16 on Sunday, ousting world number one and reigning women’s champion Iga Swiatek in three sets.
But amid furnace-like heat on the Arthur Ashe Stadium, the inconsistent Latvian wilted in the face of a scorching performance from her American opponent.
Gauff broke her opponent’s serve three times in a lopsided first set which was over in 20 minutes, with the Latvian coughing 15 unforced errors to Gauff’s two.
Ostapenko was soon in trouble in the second set, suffering a service break in the opening game when Gauff’s sublime drop shot left the Latvian scrambling to the net.
However, Ostapenko finally got on the board with a break of serve in the next game only to surrender that momentum in the next game when Gauff broke her for the fifth time for a 2-1 lead.
The next three games went with serve before Gauff turned the screw to break for a 5-2 lead that left the teenager serving for the match.
Although Ostapenko defiantly saved two match points, Gauff clinched victory with a forehand winner.