Gauff was the story of The Championships so far. But Halep was the champion of Roland Garros last year, she was the former world No.1 and she was the woman who had started to find her best form after a so-so first six months to the season. The 6-3, 6-3, 75-minute pasting did not exactly come as a surprise, then, even if it still hurt to lose.
The fairy tale is over but the dream lives on
Simona Halep defeated Coco Gauff 6-3, 6-3. But what an extraordinary run the young American had at Wimbledon.
“I was obviously disappointed,” Gauff said. “I mean, I would be disappointed in any loss no matter if I was playing a former world No.1 or somebody younger than me. I think I just need to go back to work and keep working hard and get ready for my next couple tournaments.”
“I'm super proud of myself“
That got rid of the disappointment factor. Looking back on her two weeks in London, the first in qualifying and the second in the main draw, she could still not quite get her head around what had happened to her.
“I lost second round of qualifying in Paris,” she said. “Now I made it to the second week. I'm super proud of myself. I'm excited to see what I'll do at US Open and the next couple tournaments coming up.”
Wrapped up in the moment, it is always hard to see the bigger picture. And Gauff is only 15 – most 15-year-olds have no idea what a bigger picture actually is.
But when she gets home and the dust settles, maybe her parents, Corey and Candi, will realise that losing to Halep was probably the best thing that could have happened to her. Had Coco gone on to the quarter-finals, or further, the hype and hoopla surrounding the new superstar would have reached fever pitch.
Sooner rather than later
Mr and Mrs Gauff have been very careful and very clever with the way they have guided their daughter. They do not want her catapulted into the spotlight before she is ready, before she is old enough to cope with the pressure that brings.
What they could not have legislated for was her stunning run through the first three rounds in SW19, but now that it is over, it is time to go back to the old routines and build for the future. And Halep believes that that future could come sooner rather than later.
“She will be a very tough opponent for everybody,” Halep warned. “If she keeps doing what she did here, she's going to get a lot of confidence and she can win big tournaments soon.
“I think she has a very strong backhand. Also the serve is pretty tough. She's moving very well. She's tall, so is not easy to move that fast.
“She's still young. I think she needs a little bit more power. But she's a very, very good player already. The fact that she tries to be aggressive, she tries to work with the serve pretty much, with the first serve. Second serve is not soft. I think she has a great game already.”
Halep "not tired anymore“
Halep’s game is not half bad either. She felt that he win over Victoria Azarenka on Friday was the best match she had played all year. Then to come out on top against Gauff, the crowd favourite, in a much-hyped match had been a decent effort from the world No.7, particularly as she felt mentally drained at the start of the season.
“I’m more confident, more confident,” she said. “I feel better mentally. I'm not tired any more. I've been a little bit tired at the beginning of the year. I'm fresh, emotional talking. I started to feel hungry of the results already. Every match I want to win it badly. I'm trying just to do that.”
The next one she will be trying to win is against Shuai Zhang from China.