A year ago, Coco Gauff and Caty McNally won the U.S. Open girls doubles title, but there never were more than a handful of spectators at any match.
Monday night, with Cocomania in full bloom (or should it be McCocomania for doubles?), spectators streamed into the 8,000-seat Grandstand show court a full hour before the pair's rain-delayed, third-round match against the very tough team of Ashleigh Barty and Victoria Azarenka.
And it was on the Grandstand court, before maybe 7,000 spectators, that the mania ended — at least for now.
Barty is this year’s French Open champion and last year won the U.S. Open doubles title with the original CoCo, as in CoCo Vandeweghe. Azarenka is twice an Australian Open champion and an accomplished doubles player. They were too much for the teenagers to overcome. Barty and Azarenka steamrolled through all the mania for a 6-0, 6-1 victory in 48 minutes.
Gauff’s sensational grand slam summer has come to an end, though she has left quite a remarkable trail behind her at age 15. After beating Venus Williams in the first round at Wimbledon, she reached the fourth round where she was beaten by eventual champion Simona Halep.
In singles at the Open, she won her first two matches, both played in Armstrong Stadium in anticipation of a huge crowd seeking a glimpse of someone who might be the next star of the women’s game. She finally was beaten by No. 1 seed and defending champion Naomi Osaka in a prime-time match in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
McNally, Gauff’s 17-year-old partner, did well in her own right, taking the opening set off Serena Williams in a second-round singles match in Ashe before losing.
Both teens have a lot to take away from their first main draw Open appearances.
“For me, I think it's just going to be playing on Ashe at night," McNally said. "That was really cool. [And] playing against Serena before her career ends. Then also just playing yesterday on Louis Armstrong with Coco, that was really fun. Just the crowd and all the support we got was unbelievable.”
“For me, it would just be the crowd in general,” Gauff said. “I think even today they were trying to push us, even though we weren't giving them much to push for. They were really trying to help us, even throughout all our matches of singles and doubles. To me, I'll just remember the crowd. Hopefully I'll get to experience that crowd support again next year.”