By Issy Ronald, CNN
(CNN) — It wasn’t too long ago that Coco Gauff exploded onto the scene as a 15-year-old, defeating Venus Williams at Wimbledon in 2019.
But time marches on and it was Gauff who was the experienced player on court on Saturday as she defeated 16-year-old Mirra Andreeva in a hard-fought battle between two of tennis’ most talented teenagers.
The American lost the first set in a tiebreak but rallied to dismantle Andreeva in the next two sets and take a 6-7 (5-7) 6-1 6-1 win to advance to the fourth round of the French Open.
“We practiced together this week, actually,” Gauff, still just 19, said afterwards, according to the Guardian. “I don’t know if it made a difference in the match – it’s all about adjustment, that’s tennis.
“Today wasn’t going to be an easy match, she deserves to be where she is and go even further.”
Andreeva celebrated her 16th birthday in April and became the youngest player to reach the third round at Roland Garros since 2005, according to the WTA.
And for the first 65 minutes of the match, it seemed as if Andreeva might continue her meteoric rise with a shock victory as she pummeled Gauff’s weaker forehand side with first serves and won the set’s tiebreak.
Despite her age, Gauff has already played in numerous French Open tournaments and reached the final last year. Armed with that experience, she reset, shored up her second serve, and harnessed her powerful backhand to ultimately outmaneuver Andreeva.
Gauff will now face the unseeded Anna Karolina Schmiedlova for a place in the tournament’s quarterfinals.
Elsewhere in the women’s draw, defending champion and world No.1 Iga Swiatek also reached the fourth round with an emphatic 6-0 6-0 win against China’s Wang Xinyu, while world No. 4 Elena Rybakina withdrew from the French Open citing an upper respiratory illness.
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