By Ros Satar, at Wimbledon

  • 15-year-old Cori Gauff deals five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams a straight sets loss
  • Naomi Osaka, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev depart
WIMBLEDON, UK – It was a packed day of action, as there were thrills, care of Cori Gauff, and spills as Naomi Osaka, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev crashed out.

 

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Cori Gauff thanks her inspiration Venus Williams, as she defeats her

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It is not the first time we have seen a young pretender to the throne (Steffi Graf) take out a legend on the hallowed lawns (Martina Navratilova) but the modern-day version with Cori Gauff taking out Venus Williams was a new fairy-tale to embrace.

Gauff actually cites Serena Williams as her inspiration to play and was handed a qualifying wildcard to play this year and is certainly making the most of the chance.

She stuck to her game plan, and while Williams picked up some much-needed time on grass at the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham, she could not handle the pace and speed of the youngster.

Still having to deal with the mundane task of school tests, she was asked how she handled a science test and this challenge.

“On my science test, I got a B. Today I’d give myself an A (smiling). Hopefully my next test I can get an A, but you never know.

“On the court, I was not thinking about Venus. I was just playing my game. No matter who I play against, I want to win. So that’s what I was just thinking about the whole time. I wasn’t really thinking about who I was facing on the other side of the net.”

 

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Unholy trio exit

It was less happy news for three players all believed to be ready to make some waves at Wimbledon. For the second time on this surface, Naomi Osaka faced the feisty Yulia Putintseva, and the ending did not change. In Birmingham she was up-ended in straight sets, declined to fulfil her media obligations and took a fine. Although this time Osaka fronted up to press, the questioning got to her and she asked to leave for fear she might cry.

All in all, since winning a second Slam at the start of the year in Australia, she has split with coach Sascha Bajin and things have started to unravel.

She said: “There [are] answers to questions that you guys ask that I still haven’t figured out yet. The key for me was just, like, having fun, I guess, like learning how to have fun, kind of taking pressure off myself. I hope I can somehow find a way to do that.”

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For Alexander Zverev, a four-set loss to Jiri Vesely was described as a ‘typical’ Grand Slam performance for the German.  However, he alluded to some things off court that may also have had an effect.

“It was kind of a typical Grand Slam match for me. I started off well, then one or two things don’t go my way, and everything kind of a little bit falls apart.

“I’m not very high on confidence right now. When I get to the important moments, I had, what, five, six breakpoints in the fourth set alone, can’t take any of those. I had a Love-40, a 15-40. I’m down one breakpoint myself and he takes it immediately, where I miss an easy volley. I didn’t lose this match on tennis. It’s just, yeah, my confidence is below zero right now.

“Everything that happens outside the court affects you. In the last two days, I would say are very rough for me personally. I’m not going to get into details, but I’m just saying. I have to fix that to play well on the court.”

 

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Stefanos Tsitsipas looked like a lost soul again. Having lost a bruising encounter with Stan Wawrinka in Paris, he went out to Thomas Fabbiano, who has looked very good on the grass this year. Looking incredibly sad, with long heavy pauses as the young philosopher contemplated his answers, he struggled to find any solace.

“It was very, very difficult to overcome that match. I was really disappointed. I am disappointed now. People expected things from me. I didn’t deliver. When you get so much support, so much energy, so much positivity from everyone, just ruin everything by yourself, it’s devastating. I should be the one creating. I should be the one just playing my game. I can’t seem to find a way to do that.”

Play continues at Wimbledon at 11am BST.

 

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