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Australian Open: Cori Gauff beats Venus Williams in straight sets

Cori Gauff faces Sorana Cirstea in the second round of the 2020 Australian Open. Photo by Roman Pilipey/EPA-EFE
Cori Gauff faces Sorana Cirstea in the second round of the 2020 Australian Open. Photo by Roman Pilipey/EPA-EFE

Jan. 20 (UPI) -- Cori "Coco" Gauff beat Venus Williams in straight sets to begin her run at the 2020 Australian Open.

Gauff, 15, beat Williams 7-6 (5), 6-3 Monday in Melbourne. Gauff -- the youngest player in the tournament -- earned notoriety in 2019 after stunning Williams at Wimbledon.

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"I was definitely more confident this time," Gauff told reporters. "I think I was used to playing on big courts. The size of the crowd didn't startle me as much as last time."

Gauff and Williams battled in a 62-minute first set. Gauff went up 3-1 before Williams rallied to tie the score at 5-5. She eventually claimed the set with a backhand winner. Gauff also jumped out to a 3-1 advantage in the second set, before putting Williams away.

"She clearly wants it, works very hard, is extremely mature for her age," Williams said. "I think the sky's the limit for her."

Williams had seven aces in the loss.

Defending champion Naomi Osaka, Serena Williams, Ashleigh Barty and Caroline Wozniacki also advanced out of the first round with wins Monday. Gauff faces Sorana Cirstea in the second round of the 2020 Australian Open.

"I was really nervous before today's match," Gauff said. "That was really difficult, she played really well. It was hard to get aggressive against her. I was trying to put the ball in play, gut it out. I'm glad I was able to get through it. Now I'm feeling great."

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