AAP Tennis

Teen Gauff into Australian Open’s last 32

By AAP Newswire

Fearful of driving on the left-hand side of the road or getting criticised by her brothers when she's behind the wheel, Coco Gauff remains very much at ease playing Naomi Osaka.

It says much about the 15 year-old, who won through to a third round clash with the defending Australian Open champion following a gritty three-set win on Wednesday.

Gauff had to fight back from 0-3 and 0-30 down in the deciding set against Romanian veteran Sorana Cirstea.

Like many things for the teen phenom, it was taken in her stride.

"I was just trying to stay calm mostly and stay positive. I've always believed that I can come back regardless of the score," she said.

"The whole match I knew I needed to be more aggressive. I guess I finally decided to do that even though I wish I decided that earlier. That's OK."

With a fierce forehand, no issues in coming to the net and a wicked top-spin lob that landed more than once, Gauff is confident she can push Osaka harder than when she did at last year's US Open.

In that third round match, she was routinely beaten 6-3 6-0 and admitted to having some nerves.

Not now though.

"We're both familiar with each other's games. She plays really aggressive. This time coming in I'm going to be more aggressive," she said.

"I think in general my mindset has always been nothing to lose really.

"I think my mindset just is 'I'm going to fight'. If I lose, the world is not going to end."

In just her third major, Gauff captured the imaginations of tennis fans with her run to the fourth round at Wimbledon last year.

She backed that up with a third-round showing in New York, beat Venus Williams for the second time this week and would likely break into the top 50 with an upset win over Osaka.

It's all come relatively easily, unlike her driving.

"The first time I drove on a highway was really nerve-wracking for me. Also driving with my brothers in the car is nerve-wracking," she said.

And she ruled out taking the wheel anytime soon in Australia.

"Yes, yes (I'd be scared). I have to remind myself when crossing the street to look both ways so I don't get hit by a car," she said.