WASHINGTON, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) -- Coco Gauff won her first match of the summer, fighting past fellow American Caroline Dolehide 7-5, 7-5 to enter the second round of the inaugural Top Seed Open.
The 16-year-old Gauff, the youngest player in the draw, is contesting her first event since the 2020 Australian Open, where she beat Venus Williams and Naomi Osaka en route to the round of 16.
On Tuesday in Lexington, the teenage sensation stunned 21-year-old qualifier Dolehide, closing out the closely-contested tilt after one hour and 42 minutes of play.
"I'm just out here having fun," said Gauff. "Obviously, I want to win, but I'm not going to put pressure on myself to win anything. I just try my best out there on the court every day."
The victory restarts the rise of Gauff over the last 18 months, which includes her first WTA singles title at Linz last year, as well as fourth-round showings at 2019 Wimbledon and the 2020 Australian Open. Consequently, her ranking has soared from World No. 685 at the start of 2019 to its current position of World No. 53.
Gauff's victory sets up a blockbuster second-round encounter with hard-hitting No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus. It will be the first meeting between Gauff and World No. 11 Sabalenka.
"I'm just going to approach [the next round] the same as I do every match, wanting to win and hopefully having a good mentality out there," Gauff said.