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Australian Open: 'Coco' Gauff upsets Naomi Osaka

Cori Coco Gauff, 15, clinched a spot in the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the second time in her career by knocking off No. 3 Naomi Osaka Friday in Melbourne. Photo by Dave Hunt/EPA-EFE
Cori "Coco" Gauff, 15, clinched a spot in the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the second time in her career by knocking off No. 3 Naomi Osaka Friday in Melbourne. Photo by Dave Hunt/EPA-EFE

Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Two major upsets headlined the third round of the 2020 Australian Open on Friday in Melbourne: Cori "Coco" Gauff upset defending champion Naomi Osaka, and Qiang Qang knocked out 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams.

"What is my life? Oh my gosh," Coco said after the match.

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Coco beat Osaka 6-3, 6-4 in 67 minutes at Rod Laver Arena to advance to the fourth round. The 15-year-old from Delray Beach, Fla., has now advanced to the fourth round in two Grand Slams after also playing into the fourth round of Wimbledon 2019. Osaka, 22, beat Coco in the third round of the 2019 U.S. Open.

"I was just telling myself 'one point at a time' and to just 'keep fighting,'" Coco said.

Coco lost to Simona Halep in the fourth round at Wimbledon. She'll battle American Sofia Kenin or Zhang Shuai in the fourth round in Melbourne.

The teen tennis phenom fired just one ace in her win over Osaka. She had half the number of unforced errors as the world No. 3.

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"To do things differently, I would have had to expect that she [Coco] would play like that," Osaka said. "I wasn't really expecting it. I felt like I had to deal with the situation at hand."

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Osaka and Coco exchanged game points in the first set before Osaka tied the set at 3-3. Coco won the seventh game on an Osaka forehand forced error. She claimed the eighth game on an Osaka unforced error. Osaka had a backhand forced error in the final game, giving Coco the early edge.

Coco won the first game of the second set, before Osaka rallied by winning three of the next four games. Coco responded by winning the sixth, seventh and eighth games before Osaka fired a forehand winner to claim the ninth game. Coco won match point when Osaka hit a ball into the net for a forehand unforced error.

"You don't want to lose to a 15-year-old, you know," Osaka said. "But I guess that's for me, like, a reality check. It doesn't really matter the age of the opponent. Of course she deserves to be here. She played her matches. I just have to work harder.

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"I love her, but I don't like this feeling of losing to her."

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Serena Williams squashed

Wang beat Williams 6-4, 6-7 (7), 7-5 in the match before Coco's victory at Rod Laver Arena. Wang will face Ons Jabeur in the fourth round in Melbourne. Jabeur knocked off Caroline Wozniacki in three sets to advance to her matchup against Wang.

"I'm definitely going to be training tomorrow," Williams said. "That's first and foremost, to make sure I don't do this again."

Wang had just one double fault and 20 unforced errors in the 2:41 match. Williams fired eight aces and 43 winners in the loss. Williams took a 4-3 lead in the seventh game of the first set before Wang won the final three games to win the set. Wang would not go away in the second set, exchanging points with the 23-time Grand Slam champion until Williams took a 6-5 lead in the set. Wang claimed the 12th game on a Williams unforced error, before Williams claimed the second set on a Wang forced error.

The tennis foes once again played a close set down the stretch, with Williams firing an ace to tie the match at 5-5 in the third set. Williams had a backhand forced error to give Wang the 11th game. She gave Wang match point on a backhand unforced error in the final game of the match.

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"I made a lot of errors," Williams said. "I haven't hit any of those shots in New York [U.S. Open] or in general in a really long time, so that's good news. I just made far too many errors to be a professional athlete today."

Others to advance

No. 2 Novak Djokovic headlined the men's circuit by advancing to the fourth round. The defending champion will face Argentine Diego Schwartzman in the fourth round in Melbourne. Other men's fourth-round matchups include Marin Cilic against Milos Raonic; Marton Fucsovics against Roger Federer or Jon Millman; and Fabio Fogini against Tennys Sandgren.

Women's No. 1 Ashleigh Barty beat Kazakhstan's Elina Rybakina in the third round to advance to a fourth-round clash against American Allison Riske. Other women's fourth-round matches include: Petra Kvitova against Maria Sakkari; Coco against Kenin or Zhang; and Wang against Jabeur.

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