“Off the court she seems like me“
Osaka, who beat Magda Linette in straight sets to reach the third round, said she sees something of herself in Gauff.
“Off the court she seems like me,” Osaka said. “Well, she knows what she's doing (more than she did). I saw her in the locker room. She wasn't really talking to anyone. I was, like, Oh, looks familiar. I'm just going to talk to her. I know she's super young, and I know it's sort of hard to transition.”
With her stunning speed around the court, defensive qualities and a swagger on the court that belies her young age, Gauff seems cut out for the top, a target she has already made clear.
And Osaka’s achievements, winning the title in New York last summer and then picking up the Australian Open title a few months later, have shown the younger girls coming up that anything can be done.
“I think she just made it possible,” Gauff said. “Last year, US Open, she wasn't really like a big contender. Obviously now this year she is. She had that amazing run, then the final. Honestly, I think she's a big inspiration for everyone. She's 21. She has two slams. She's still (striving) for more.
“I think she's just a super sweet person on and off the court. She competes great out there. I think she shows us how to compete and the way to, like, be off the court, too.”
Osaka seems back to herself, on and off the court, after a tough few months when she found coping with her new found stardom, not to mention the No 1 ranking, much harder than she expected.