DELRAY BEACH (CBSMiami/CNN) – It was an incredible run for South Florida teen Cori “Coco” Gauff at Wimbledon. The 15-year-old tennis star from Delray Beach lost in the fourth round to Simona Halep, a former No. 1 and grand slam winner.
At the age of 15, Gauff is the youngest player to reach the round of 16 since Jennifer Capriati did it in 1991.
Despite her loss Monday, she has so much to be proud of and so do her family and friends who were glued to the TV sets at her dad’s bar in Delray Beach at a watch party Monday.
“She did good but she didn’t come out victorious,” said Coco’s brother Codey Gauff. “She’s a winner, no matter what.”
While it’s not the outcome her family had hoped for, there’s no let down.
“Absolutely not, zero disappointment no disappointment,” said her grandmother Yvonne Odom.
Coco’s grandmother watched with amazement and pride as Coco, one of her seven grandchildren, played with poise under pressure.
“Stay humble, to stay focused and I’m telling you she works hard nobody has to push her to go to practice, she has a schedule she does it, she’s very focused and still a child,” said Odom.
Odom says she’s always known Coco would make it.
“There was always something unique about her I just believe God had a plan for her,” she said. “We knew it all along that she was special now the world knows it.”
Gauff, perhaps feeling ill, was seen by the trainer and doctor early in the second set and took medication.
However, the match slipped from her grasp midway in the opener as Halep at one stage claimed six of seven games to build a set and break advantage.
Halep has been voted women’s tennis’ top favorite by fans the past two seasons but against Gauff, even the popular Romanian appeared to be outnumbered on Court 1. “Come on, Coco” was a familiar yell.
The throng on Henman Hill for example cheered Gauff on Friday when she saved a pair of match points to defeat Polona Hercog in a heartstopper that drew the highest peak audience for host broadcaster the BBC’s Wimbledon coverage the first five days.
Her previous two tussles featured in the top eight, including the shock win over Venus Williams that made Gauff the youngest player to win at Wimbledon since Jennifer Capriati in 1991.
Before then, the South Florida resident had already become the youngest qualifier to make the main draw at Wimbledon and that while having to take a science test during qualifying week.
But her bid to emulate Capriati 28 years ago and make the quarterfinals stopped at the hands of Halep, the first top-10 opponent she faced in her now blossoming career.
The speedy pair traded breaks to begin with before Halep took control at 2-2, aided by a tough call that went against Gauff.
At deuce, Gauff’s zipped cross court backhand — maybe the most potent shot in her arsenal — was called wide by the lines person but overruled by Keothavong.
He was proved correct by Hawk-Eye but instead of Gauff winning the point — Halep realistically had no play — Keothavong ruled the point to be replayed because it was an early call.
Broken two points later to the crowd’s dismay, Gauff dropped her racket and slapped her hands in frustration.
From 4-3 in the first, Halep won four consecutive games and surged to 2-0 in the second.
Gauff’s comeback spirit has been witnessed throughout the tournament and she got back on level pegging at 2-2, after the doctor and trainer paid a visit.
Halep, however, went on another surge.
Gauff saving two match points at 2-5 evoked memories of Friday. Yet on her third opportunity, Halep sealed her spot in the quarterfinals when Gauff’s forehand sailed wide.
Both players left court to huge applause, with Gauff offering a subtle wave.
It was a wave goodbye but Gauff has now introduced herself to the world.
(©2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company, contributed to this report.)