Tennis

Hot Coco melts Muguruza to reach semis

"Fake it till you make it," Coco Vandeweghe said after her fourth-round upset of world No. 1 Angelique Kerber this week and if the American was hiding her nerves, she's doing a great job of it.

The big-hitting 25-year-old blasted her way past seventh seed Garbine Muguruza 6-4, 6-0 at the Australian Open yesterday to reach her first Grand Slam semi-final.

Muguruza, the French Open champion, was simply stunned by the world No. 35.

"I think she played unbelievable. Three times we played in the past, she didn't show this level," said the Spaniard.

"When you play with someone that has the power to hit these kind of shots, and has a good day, I mean, it's difficult, honestly."

Vandeweghe (above) said her power play was partly fuelled by her nerves.

NERVES

"Maybe I play better nervous and scared," she said. "I don't shy away from a challenge necessarily. I never have. Growing up, I've always just been wanting to prove people wrong."

That competitive edge comes from growing up in a sporting family.

Her grandfather was former New York Knicks basketballer Ernie Vandeweghe, she is the niece of former NBA player Kiki Vandeweghe and her mother Tauna was a swimmer who represented the United States at the 1976 Olympics.

"In my family, if you think you're too high, you'll get put down really fast. They're good about that," she said.

In the semi-finals tomorrow, Vandeweghe will meet fellow American Venus Williams, 11 years her senior and a seven-time Grand Slam champion. - REUTERS

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