Coco Gauff declares ‘mission’ after topping Venus Williams at Australian Open

Coco Gauff made herself a household name by shocking Venus Williams in the first round of last year’s Wimbledon. After her Monday victory over Williams in a rematch during the first round of the Australian Open, Gauff is hoping it’s a springboard to immortality.

“My mission is to be the greatest,” Gauff said after eliminating Williams in straight sets, 7-6 (5), 6-3. “That’s my goal, to win as many Grand Slams as possible, but for today my mission was to win.”

That’s what the 15-year-old Gauff did, though she said it was “really difficult” beating the 39-year-old Williams in what was the biggest match of the first day of action in Melbourne.

“I didn’t want to let the nerves come to me,” Gauff said. “I know I had a couple of set points that she played well, so I knew I had to take it from her. She wasn’t gonna give it to me. That was really the mission. I think today has been the best match so far I’ve played this year. I was a lot more focused. I think today really showed what I worked on in my offseason.”

Gauff will face 29-year Sorana Cirstea Wednesday in the second round. If Gauff wins, she could potentially face No. 3 seed Naomi Osaka in what would be a must-see third-round showdown. It would be a rematch of their US Open third-round affair, which Osaka dominated 6-3, 6-0. 

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