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Coco Gauff returns to court with qualifying spot at Citi Open after Wimbledon breakout

Cassandra Negley
Yahoo Sports Contributor

Cori “Coco” Gauff is returning to the court at Citi Open this weekend, her first tournament appearance since making a stunning run at Wimbledon.

Gauff made the announcement during a news conference Friday. The 15-year-old secured a spot in qualifying in the Washington, D.C., based event held July 27 through Aug. 4.

"I'm playing tomorrow, so I'm pretty excited,” she said.

Gauff will play her first match Saturday at 2 p.m. To reach the main draw she’ll have to win two qualifying matches. Gauff did not earn direct entry into the main draw or qualifying draw, instead having to wait until Friday’s news since she was ranked No. 313 before breaking out at Wimbledon. She’s now ranked No. 141, a jump of 172 spots.

Mark Ein, chairman of the tournament’s managing rights holder MDE Tennis, said in a statement:

“Coco’s story is a perfect fit with the history and mission of our tournament and, as potentially the next great American star, she also embodies our future and our re-imagination of this storied tennis event.”

Tickets for the match are the top story on the Citi Open Series website. It’s a big get for the tournament and organizers intended to have her there for the weekend even if she didn’t make it in, per a release last week. She is scheduled to host a Citi Open Kids’ Day on Sunday morning.

Gauff said in a statement via Citi Open:

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to be in front of American fans in our nation’s capital at the Citi Open. The last few weeks have been amazing and I’m excited about coming to Washington, D.C. to connect with all the fans, especially the young kids, who have been giving me so much support this summer. Hopefully I will also have the opportunity to keep this momentum going on the court starting at the Citi Open straight through the US Open.”

The teenager needs to be picky with her tournament selections due to WTA age restrictions. She is eligible to compete in up to 14 tournaments while she is 15 and is no longer able to accept wild-card entries since she used up all three. They’ll reset on her 16th birthday in March.

Gauff became a household name during Wimbledon when she upset Venus Williams and made it all the way to the fourth round. Potential competition at the Citi Open includes No. 9 Sloane Stephens and No. 13 Belinda Bencic.

Cori "Coco" Gauff is ranked 141st in the world. (AP)


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