WIMBLEDON, England (AP) – Out of escapes, out of surprises, Coco Gauff knew her captivating Wimbledon ride at age 15 was nearing its conclusion.
The thousands of spectators at Court No. 1 on Monday realized it, too, so they made sure to show their appreciation for the youngest qualifier at the All England Club in the professional era and youngest Week 2 participant since 1991.
Fans, most of whom probably hadn’t heard of Gauff until last week, rose and roared as she fended off the initial two match points she faced against 2018 French Open champion Simona Halep. It was reminiscent of the way the Gauff began a comeback victory in her previous match. This time, though, Gauff could not come through, beaten by the older, more experienced Halep, 6-3, 6-3.
“It was really surprising, because you don’t really expect this kind of support when you’re in another country, not your home country. I really did feel like I was probably playing in New York. I’m just really happy that people believe in me,” said Gauff, who beat Venus Williams in the first round for quite a Grand Slam tournament debut.
“I wasn’t feeling my best, I wasn’t playing my best,: Gauff said as she wiped away tears at her news conference, where she noted she wasn’t sure why she needed a visit from a doctor in the second set, “but they were still supporting me, no matter what.”
While Gauff couldn’t get past former No. 1 Halep, another American, 55th-ranked Alison Riske, stopped the 15-match winning streak of the current No. 1, Ash Barty, eliminating her, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.
It’ll come against yet another player who has topped the WTA rankings, Serena Williams, who will be participating in her 14th quarterfinal at Wimbledon alone.
Barty began perfectly, winning the first game of the match this way: 112 mph ace, 102 mph ace, 110 mph ace, 108 mph ace. She hit another pair of aces in her next service game and finished with 12. But Riske simply played so cleanly, delivering twice as many winners as unforced errors, 30-15, and won her fourth consecutive three-setter in the tournament.
Tuesday’s other quarterfinal on the top half of the women’s draw will be No. 19 Johanna Konta of Britain against Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic. On the bottom half, it’ll be No. 8 Elina Svitolina of Ukraine against Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic, and Halep against Zhang Shuai of China.
The men’s quarterfinals Wednesday are No. 1 Novak Djokovic vs. No. 21 David Goffin, No. 2 Roger Federer vs. No. 8 Kei Nishikori, No. 3 Rafael Nadal against 65th-ranked Sam Querrey, and No. 23 Roberto Bautista Agut against No. 26 Guido Pella.
Djokovic, Federer and Nadal all won in straight sets and are all in the quarters of a major tournament for the 24th time; one member of the Big Three won the title at 20 of those.
Querrey hit 25 aces and saved all four break points he faced to get past Tennys Sandgren 6-4, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (3), 7-6 (5) in the first all-American men’s Week 2 matchup at Wimbledon in 19 years. Pella erased a two-set deficit to edge 2016 runner-up Milos Raonic 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3), 8-6.
Halep is the highest-seeded woman remaining, after Barty was joined on the way out Monday by No. 3 Karolina Pliskova, who twice served for the victory in a 4-6, 7-5, 13-11 loss to Muchova, and No. 6 Petra Kvitova, a two-time champion eliminated by Konta 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.