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Gets the next generation of tennis stars finally arrived?

9: 00 AM ET

  • D’Arcy MaineESPN.com

NY — The lands at the united states Open were noticeably quiet on Saturday morning. It had been the initial day of the post-Serena Williams era, also it felt as though the air have been removed from the website.

Before Williams’ third-round match against Ajla Tomljanovic, there have been a palpable buzz everywhere — in the nosebleed seats at Arthur Ashe Stadium, in the lines at the meals court, even waiting in traffic. Thousands gathered to catch a glimpse of the 23-time major champion during her practice sessions, and her matches became the latest ticket around.

But she lost and, exactly like that, her legendary career was over. Even Rafael Nadal’s (albeit lopsided) match on Saturday night against Richard Gasquet at Ashe felt flat.

But something happened on Sunday. Or rather someone.

Playing in the next match of the afternoon on Ashe, 18-year-old Coco Gauff faced a hardcore battle against Zhang Shuai, sufficient reason for every fiercely contested rally and feat of athleticism, the crowd grew louder and louder. There have been, “Let’s go, Co-co” chants and frequent reminders from the chair umpire for silence.

“It feels insane. After all, Ashe Stadium chanting my name?” Gauff said during her on-court interview following the match. “I was trying never to smile on the bench on the changeover. I was attempting to stay in as soon as.”

Gauff ultimately won the match 7-5, 7-5, becoming the youngest American woman to advance to the quarterfinals at the function since 2009, and the initial teenage woman since Victoria Azarenka, also in 2009, to attain the round at two majors through the same season. (Gauff advanced to the French Open final earlier this season.)

While three matches stand in the form of her first Grand Slam title — you start with an extremely tricky quarterfinal clash contrary to the red-hot Caroline Garcia on Tuesday night — it really is clear she actually is among the game’s next big superstars.

And she’s not the only real up-and-comer to reenergize the crowds this fortnight.

On Monday afternoon, Frances Tiafoe pulled off one of the primary upsets of the tournament with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, victory over Nadal, the 22-time major champion, to advance to the next major quarterfinals of his career.

The 24-year-old American has long charmed crowds along with his fearless play, powerful hitting and entertaining style. In the fourth-round clash, he found a method to put everything together at his home Slam. While Nadal remains probably the most popular players on tour, Tiafoe converted the audience because the match progressed, and by the finish, everyone was on the feet as Tiafoe secured the largest win of his career.

Round the same time, over on Louis Armstrong court, No. 1-ranked Iga Swiatek, the two-time French Open champion, advanced to the quarterfinals on Monday with a three-set comeback make an impression on Jule Niemeier. After falling in the initial set, the 21-year-old won 12 of the ultimate 16 games of the match.

Later in the night time, 21-year-old Jannik Sinner became the youngest person since Novak Djokovic in 2008 to attain the quarterfinals at all majors when he held off Ilya Ivashka in five sets.

In the first hours of Tuesday morning, 19-year-old Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz defeated 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 to advance to the quarters, just as before, in NY. He previously a surprise set you back exactly the same round in 2021 and contains turn into a force on tour — and a fan favorite — since. A loyal band of supporters stayed in the stands, chanting his name and waving Spanish flags, before very end of his fourth-round match, well after 2 a.m. ET.

Not to mention, there’s Nick Kyrgios, the 27-year-old Australian with seemingly limitless skill and electrifying showmanship. After years of nearly living around the expectations and getting just as much attention for his unpredictable antics as his talent, he reached his first major final at Wimbledon in July.

Now, he’s into his first US Open quarterfinals following a statement victory over Daniil Medvedev on Sunday. After Nadal’s loss, Kyrgios may be the betting favorite to win the title. While everything appears to be coming together for him on the court, his personal life isn’t without controversy. He was accused of domestic assault by way of a former partner and contains a hearing linked to the allegation in October.

It appears tennis has finally reached a changing-of-the-guard moment. It’s been anticipated for a long time, because the biggest names have already been getting older, however the time is apparently now.

Along with Williams’ retirement, Roger Federer, 41, has been sidelined for over per year as he recovers from right knee surgery, Djokovic, 35, is playing a restricted schedule because of his unvaccinated status and Venus Williams, 42, has played sparingly. While Nadal, 36, has won two major titles this season, he has handled a slew of injuries in the last 13 months and was handed his earliest Grand Slam exit since 2017 on Monday.

That is just the next major because the start of 2005 season never to have Nadal, Djokovic or Nadal in the quarterfinals. There was not a US Open quarterfinal round minus the “Big Three” or Williams since 2003. Nobody remaining in either draw has ever won the united states Open before, and Swiatek may be the only Grand Slam champion left.

“I believe Nick playing great tennis is ideal for tennis,” said Tiafoe, while wearing a “GOAT” sweatshirt featuring images of Williams, after his win on Monday. “You see him packing stadiums when he’s playing singles, doubles, whatever. Alcaraz is an excellent personality. Sinner. Myself. People get behind me …

“It’s cool to visit a new era.”

There were several players who appeared as if they could break through recently. Naomi Osaka appeared to be a sure thing with her four major titles, but she’s struggled on / off the court in the last 14 months. She lost in the initial round in NY the other day.

Medvedev defeated Djokovic to win the united states Open in 2021 and overran the No. 1 ranking earlier this season, but he came well lacking defending his title this week.

Numerous women have won Grand Slam titles previously many years since Williams temporarily left the tour on maternity leave in 2021, but virtually all have already been struggling to achieve consistent success after their breakthrough moment.

And winning isn’t the thing which makes a superstar. These younger players have the “it” factor of charisma and authenticity, and it’s really no real surprise to see them filling stadiums and earning new fans with every victory.

Gauff’s popularity continues to transcend tennis. She’s turn into a voice for societal issues, delivering an impassioned speech at a Black Lives Matter rally in 2020 and writing “End gun violence” on the camera at the French Open soon after the institution shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

Before this season, Gauff had never won a match on Ashe. In 2022, she’s played every match of the tournament on the court. Her first three were scheduled directly before Williams.

That marquee placement wasn’t lost on her behalf.

“My first round I was shocked that I had been placed on Ashe,” Gauff said Sunday. “Then it just happened again the next round. At that time, I figured maybe it could keep happening, particularly when Serena was playing.

“This should be just like a perfect lineup for viewers. You have me playing first, closing out with the GOAT. That’s crazy.”

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