Coco Gauff was overcome by emotion following her fourth-round defeat to Jelena Ostapenko at the Australian Open, but now that she is out she hopes her doubles partner Jessica Pegula goes all the way.
On the back of winning the ASB Classic in Auckland at the start of the year, many believed Gauff could end her wait for a Grand Slam title at Melbourne Park this year.
However, she was overpowered by the impressive Ostapenko on Sunday as the Latvian produced some of the tennis that saw her win the 2017 French Open.
Gauff, who became emotional during the post-match press conference, said: “I worked really hard, and I felt really good coming into the tournament, and I still feel good. I still feel like I’ve improved a lot.
“But when you play a player like her and she plays really well, there’s nothing you can do. I feel like it was rough. So it’s a little bit frustrating on that part.”
Ostapenko broke twice in the opening set with the American claiming one break while a single break in game eight of the second set helped her to the win.
Gauff admitted she wasn’t quite able to solve the Ostapenko puzzle.
“There were moments in the match where I was getting frustrated because I normally can problem solve, but today I feel like I didn’t have many answers to what she was doing,” she said.
“There were balls I was hitting deep, and she was hitting them on the line and hitting them back deep, like over and over again. It’s just one of those days that just didn’t go my way and went her way. I tried what I could.”
It was another day of big upsets at the 2023 season-opening Grand Slam as world No 1 and favourite Iga Swiatek was beaten by reigning Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina while second seed Ons Jabeur lost in the second round.
However, third seed Jessica Pegula is still going strong as the American beat former French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova to reach the quarter-finals.
“I hope that she continues well in the tournament now that I’m out,” Gauff said. “I hope she wins it.”
Gauff and Pegula are also still in the women’s doubles and they will playMiyu Kato of Japan and Aldila Sutjiadi of Indonesia in the quarter-final on Monday.
“I’m excited to play doubles. I think it gives me a chance to still be around and I definitely enjoy just competing in general,” she added.
“So I think it will help me (get over defeat), just let me play with some frustration.
“I think doubles has taught me how to play, after losing, how to play with frustration, and that’s what I felt like today. I was frustrated.”
“I think it’s because I worked really hard and I felt really good coming into the tournament and I still feel good,” Gauff said. “I still feel like I’ve improved a lot.
“But when you play a player like her and she plays really well, it’s like there’s nothing you can do.
“So it’s a little bit frustrating on that part.”
Gauff is partnering fellow American Jessica Pegula in the women’s doubles at Melbourne Park and she said playing in the format helps her get over the disappointment of defeat.
“There were moments in the match where I was getting frustrated because I normally can problem solve but today I feel like I didn’t have much answers to what she was doing.
“There were balls I was hitting deep and she was hitting them on the line and hitting them back deep, like, over and over again. It’s just one of those days that just didn’t go my way and went her way.”
Gauff began to tear up when asked to explain her frustrations.