Tennis

Simona Halep in the way of Coco Gauff's fairy-tale run

Teenage sensation Coco Gauff has lit up the first week of Wimbledon with her winning performances on and off court but, if her fairy-tale run is to continue, she must overcome former world No. 1 Simona Halep in the last 16 today.

The 15-year-old American, who still has a way to go to emulate Jennifer Capriati who reached the semi-finals in 1991 at the same age, will be punished by Halep if she reproduces the same error-strewn performance in her thrilling three-set win over Polona Hercog last Friday.

"I feel like I've always been confident in myself," said Gauff.

"I think I learnt that I'm capable of doing a lot of things. I feel like my confidence has been the same the whole tournament."

Her exploits have done wonders in boosting the image of women's tennis and seven-time champion Serena Williams believes she could go the whole way.

"I think there's some 15-year-olds, like me, who wouldn't know what to do at Wimbledon," said Williams.

"Then you have a 15-year-old like Coco who knows what to do...

"I think she's definitely on a different level, so I think she's totally capable and ready, to be honest."

Williams, who faces Carla Suarez Navarro today, meets Ashleigh Barty in the last eight if both win today's matches.

Barty, the world No. 1, looks in ominous form.

The Australian takes on American Alison Riske, who had beaten her on grass on their only previous meeting, which was three years ago.

"You ask any opponent that plays Alison, she's up for the fight, makes you work for every single point," said Barty.

"I think it will be really important for me to go out there and try and bring my variety, take my opportunities when I get them."

Another big match in the women's draw is the clash between two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and Britain's Johanna Konta.

In the men's draw, the Big Three are in action today.

Novak Djokovic takes on French youngster Ugo Humbert, Rafael Nadal faces world No. 69 Joao Sousa, while Roger Federer meets Italy's world No. 20 Matteo Berrettini in what will be the Swiss great's record 17th fourth-round appearance at Wimbledon. -AFP

Tennis