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Coco Gauff’s Wimbledon run ends

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WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Out of escapes, out of surprises, Coco Gauff knew her captivating Wimbledon ride at age 15 was nearing its conclusion.

The thousands of spectators at Court No. 1 on Monday realized it, too, so they made sure to show their appreciation for the youngest qualifier at the All England Club in the professional era and youngest Week 2 participant since 1991.

Fans, most of whom probably hadn’t heard of Gauff until last week, rose and roared as she fended off the initial two match points she faced against 2018 French Open champion Simona Halep. It was reminiscent of the way the Gauff began a comeback victory in her previous match. This time, though, Gauff could not come through, beaten by the older, more experienced Halep 6-3, 6-3.

“It was really surprising, because you don’t really expect this kind of support when you’re in another country, not your home country. I really did feel like I was probably playing in New York. I’m just really happy that people believe in me,” said Gauff, who beat Venus Williams in the first round for quite a Grand Slam tournament debut.

“I wasn’t feeling my best, I wasn’t playing my best,” Gauff said, noting that she wasn’t sure why she needed a visit from a doctor in the second set, “but they were still supporting me, no matter what.”

While Gauff couldn’t get past former No. 1 Halep, another American, 55th-ranked Alison Riske, stopped the 15-match winning streak of the current No. 1, Ash Barty, eliminating her 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.

“Right now, Ash is playing well,” Riske said. “I believe that I am, as well.”

That’s certainly true.

She improved to 14-1 on grass courts this season and reached the first major quarterfinal of her career in 30 appearances.

It’ll come against yet another player who has topped the WTA rankings, Serena Williams, who will be participating in her 14th quarterfinal at Wimbledon alone.

Barty began perfectly, winning the first game of the match this way: 112 mph ace, 102 mph ace, 110 mph ace, 108 mph ace. She hit another pair of aces in her next service game and finished with 12. But Riske simply played so cleanly, delivering twice as many winners as unforced errors, 30-15, and won her fourth consecutive three-setter in the tournament.

“There aren’t many holes in her game, full-stop,” said Barty, who followed up her first Grand Slam championship at Roland Garros last month, then grabbed a title at a grass-court tuneup tournament.

“Today wasn’t my day. I didn’t win a tennis match; it’s not the end of the world,” she said. “It’s disappointing right now. Give me an hour or so, we’ll be all good. The sun’s still going to come up tomorrow.”

WIMBLEDON: Scores | Men’s Draw | Women’s Draw

Tuesday’s other quarterfinal on the top half of the women’s draw will be No. 19 Johanna Konta of Britain against Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic. On the bottom half, it’ll be No. 8 Elina Svitolina of Ukraine against Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic, and Halep against Zhang Shuai of China.

The first two men’s quarterfinals set up for Wednesday are No. 1 Novak Djokovic vs. No. 21 David Goffin, and No. 3 Rafael Nadal against 65th-ranked Sam Querrey. Djokovic and Nadal both put together straight-set victories over unseeded opponents, while Querrey hit 25 aces and saved all four break points he faced to get past Tennys Sandgren 6-4, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (3), 7-6 (5) in the first all-American men’s Week 2 matchup at Wimbledon in 19 years.

Roger Federer moved on with ease, needing less than 75 minutes to dismiss No. 17 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy 6-1, 6-2, 6-2, and faces No. 8 Kei Nishikori next.

Halep is the highest-seeded woman remaining, after Barty was joined on the way out Monday by No. 3 Karolina Pliskova, who twice served for the victory in a 4-6, 7-5, 13-11 loss to Muchova, and No. 6 Petra Kvitova, a two-time champion eliminated by Konta 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.

For Gauff, this was her seventh match in short order — three in qualifying, four in the main draw — and while she insisted she wasn’t fatigued, she looked it.

Still, with serves reaching 119 mph, a dynamic backhand that landed near lines and aggressive volleying, Gauff made an impression on anyone who watched her.

Not to mention anyone who played her.

“It’s a great performance. I think if she keeps going, she will be (in the) top 10 soon,” Halep said. “She will be a very tough opponent for everybody. If she keeps doing what she did here, she’s going to get a lot of confidence and she can win big tournaments soon.”

Now the trick will be to manage those sorts of expectations.

Gauff is, after all, too young to drive a car. She is taking high school courses. Instead of hanging out at a mall or going to see a movie with friends or working as a camp counselor Monday, there she was at Wimbledon at 1 p.m., standing in the tunnel that leads to the court with her father, Corey.

He draped his arm around her shoulders, then parted ways by giving his daughter a peck on the cheek.

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Kelly Slater has an Olympic decision to make

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Surfing icon Kelly Slater is in great position to qualify for his sport’s Olympic debut in 2020, but he’s undecided about making a required event appearance this summer to stay eligible.

The top two U.S. male surfers in this season’s World Surf League final standings are in line to qualify for the Olympics.

Slater, a 47-year-old, 11-time world champion, is ranked third among Americans through six of 11 events, but the No. 2, two-time world champion John John Florence, is likely out for the rest of the season after an ACL tear.

If Slater keeps up his current pace of results, he will pass Florence’s point total by the end of the season in December.

“It appears as though I have to make a decision [on the Olympics] sooner than that,” Slater said after being eliminated from South Africa’s J-Bay Open in ninth place on Wednesday. “I’ve really got to figure out all the factors around that and make a decision in the next few weeks.”

Slater’s concern is the ISA World Surfing Games in Miyazaki, Japan, in September, an event that top Olympic hopefuls on the WSL tour are required to attend, barring illness or injury.

“I think I have to surf that event, and if I don’t, it may disqualify me,” he said (the International Surfing Association, the sport’s governing body, later confirmed it would disqualify him). “But I’m not sure if I want to go to Japan and compete right now.”

The ISA Games take place in the week between the next two WSL events, the latter hosted by Slater’s Surf Ranch wave pool in California.

“I’m not exactly sure how I feel about the Olympics right now, anyways,” said Slater, who last year said he was “50-50” on the Olympics when noting his differing thoughts on the qualification process and venue. “The point is, I’m not really focusing on it at this point. I’m trying to get myself back in the flow of the tour.”

Slater missed 13 tour stops between the 2017 and 2018 seasons after breaking a foot and having multiple surgeries.

He finished fifth, third, ninth, ninth and ninth in his five most recent events to get into Olympic qualifying position. He expected more after placing third in the two contests he entered healthy last season. Slater said he competed at J-Bay after straining his back “really bad” on Sunday, keeping him from surfing the three days before the contest.

“Ninth place, to me, used to be a pretty awful result. I’m used to at least a quarterfinal on for most of my career,” he said. “I’m not horrified by my results, but I’m also not surprised. Maybe other people are because everyone focuses on my age and that kind of thing. It’s not like I’m going to all of a sudden forget how to do this thing, you know?”

Slater, at 48, would be the oldest U.S. Summer Olympic rookie competitor in a sport other than equestrian, sailing or shooting (or art competitions!) in the last 100 years, supplanting Martina Navratilova, via the OlyMADMen.

“Right now in my head the focus is more on this tour than it is on the Olympics, but we’ll see,” he said. “I was starting this year with a lot of pressure on myself to try and make the Olympic team and think, maybe I’ll retire there next year and that will be the end for me. It put so much pressure on the start of the year for me that I didn’t feel like I could freely compete. It was putting too many things in my head. I needed to let that take a backseat and not worry about it. I’m just not really thinking about it a lot.”

MORE: Top U.S. surfer has links to Egg McMuffin, Guinness World Record holder

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China on brink of sweeping every gold medal at diving worlds

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Shi Tingmao joined Guo Jingjing as the only women to win three straight world titles in an individual diving event, giving China 11 gold medals in 11 events with two finals left in Gwangju, South Korea.

Shi, who swept the individual and synchronized springboard titles in Rio, claimed the 3m world title on Friday by 18.25 points with 391 total. Countrywoman Wang Han took silver, 5.8 points ahead of Australian Maddison Keeney.

Americans Sarah Bacon and Brooke Schultz missed the 12-woman final, placing 14th and 29th.

China, which has dominated the sport for two decades, is looking to sweep the golds at an Olympics or worlds for the second time after winning all 10 events in 2011. This year’s feat could be more impressive, should China win the last two events Saturday — a mixed-gender springboard and the men’s platform.

That’s because three mixed-gender events were added to the world program (but not the Olympic program) since 2011. And this year, China has not only won every gold but also taken every silver in the three individual Olympic program events thus far.

China is in strong position to go one-two in the men’s platform. Yang Jian and Yang Hao were nearly 70 points clear of the field in Friday’s semifinals.

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MORE: Diving Worlds TV Schedule