Coco Gauff, left, and Caroline Wozniacki.

Coco Gauff, left, and Caroline Wozniacki. Credit: AP; Errol Anderson

Coco Gauff is just like every other U.S. Open fan. She looks around to see which celebrities are in the Arthur Ashe court crowd — even when she’s playing. 

Sometimes, especially when she’s playing. 

"It's crazy,” Gauff said after her victory from a set down against Elise Mertens on Friday night. “I've come to the Open for years. Being a fan, just looking in the crowd to see who's coming, looking in the president’s box, the suites, to see who's there. Now being a player, it's really crazy.” 

Gauff, the 19-year-old American who will face Caroline Wozniacki in the round of 16 on Ashe as the second match on Sunday afternoon, looked in the crowd before her first match and saw Barack and Michelle Obama. 

On Friday, she saw pop star Justin Bieber, his wife Hailey, and Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler all together in a box as she beat Mertens, 3-6, 6-3, 6-0. 

“I was definitely starstruck with Justin Bieber,” Gauff said. “ ‘Never Say Never' was one of my favorite songs when I was a kid. Then 'Baby, Oh, Baby'. I could go through all his songs. Then Hailey, too, coming -— guess it was a little date night for them, which was really cool.” 

“Obviously, Jimmy Butler, he's come to a couple of my matches. I wasn't as surprised he was there. I still am like, ‘Man, this guy is busy, why is he coming to watch me play?’ “ 

Winning her first Grand Slam title is on Gauff’s bucket list, and as a winner of 14 of her last 15 matches, she has a shot. The No. 6 seed knows who she’d like to see in the crowd if she makes it to the final. 

“Definitely Beyonce,” she said. “If she ever came — oh, my goodness. I hope they would not show her on the screen. Maybe at the end.” 

Which famous faces will show up on Sunday for Gauff-Wozniacki, which will follow the noon match between Americans Tommy Paul and Ben Shelton? 

Gauff is one of the hottest players on the tour and Wozniacki is a compelling story as a former Australian Open champion who returned to the court after a three-year retirement. 

And who will the crowd root for in this match of popular players? Wozniacki, an Open wild card, had the near-full support of the Ashe crowd on Friday when she beat American Jennifer Brady — also after dropping the first set — 4-6, 6-3, 6-1. 

After her victory, Wozniacki, 33, hinted that she had already heard from famous friend Serena Williams, with whom Wozniacki consulted when she was considering her comeback. 

“She's obviously busy now as well, but we talk all the time,” Wozniacki said. “She watched my match.” 

Wozniacki was working for ESPN during Williams’ stirring final act at last year’s Open. Wozniacki said seeing Williams’ success wasn’t the spark for her decision to return to the court. 

“Things are very different from this time last year when I was heavily pregnant,” she said. “I was eight months pregnant last September. I was just here to support my friend. Obviously, I worked with ESPN. I was doing a lot of commentating and studio stuff. I really wanted to support her in her last tournament. That was something very special. I wasn’t really thinking about my own comeback at that point. I was trying to figure out how I’m going to handle two kids.” 

Williams can relate. She has not attended this year’s Open. On Aug. 22, the 41-year-old gave birth to her second child, daughter Adira River. 

Gauff has a connection with Williams as well, as they have talked over the years, and the veteran has given the teenager the benefit of her wisdom. Both stars are Black. 

"Growing up I never thought that I was different because the No. 1 player in the world was somebody who looked like me," Gauff said before last year’s Open. "I think that's the biggest thing that I can take from what I've learned from Serena.

"Then, also on a more personal level, I got to have a couple conversations with her later on in life. I think it's just the way that she handles herself. She never puts herself down. I love that she always elevates herself.” 

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