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McCoco Finds Success at the Australian Open

It was only 13 months ago that the tennis phenoms, Coco Gauff and Caty Mcnally made their Australian Open debuts.

Gauff made a strong statement by reaching the round of 16 defeating Namoi Osaka and taking the eventual champion Sofia Kenin to three sets.

While Gauff was enjoying her own success, her close friend and doubles partner Caty McNally was also equally impressive in her Australian Open women's singles debut scoring a 6-1, 6-4 first-round upset of Samantha Stosur to reach the second round in Melbourne.

You know, just your average Australian Open debut for your typical American teenagers.

The second time around at the Open was a bit more difficult for both players. Gauff lost in the second round to No. 5-seeded Elina Svitolina, while McNally also lost in the second round to No. 8 seeded Karolina Muchova.

But despite their lack of perceived success (I mean they're still teenagers!) in their singles matches this year, there is a bright spot for Gauff and McNally: the chance to focus on playing doubles, where the teenage tandem has found success, especially in this year’s 2021 Australian Open.

McNally, a Cincinnati native, and Gauff - famously dubbed McCoco by fans and media alike - rolled through the first two rounds. First, the pair defeated Americans Dolehide and Rodgers 6-3, 6-4 to advance to the second round where McCoco swarmed their more experienced opponents with energy, power, and movement for a runaway 6-1, 6-2 victory over Gabriela Dabrowski and Bethanie Mattek-Sands.

Despite their round one and two wins, many experts thought the teenagers would be outclassed in their third round matchup. However, McNally and Gauff had other plans, completing their round 3 upset with a 7-5, 6-3 upset of ninth seeds Alexa Guarachi and Desirae Krawczyk.

Round four would prove to be a different story for the McCoco tandem, as they would be defeated by Nicole Melichar and Demi Schuurs 7–6(7–4), 6–1. While the loss ended their magical Australian Open run, the pair have a lot to be proud of as they continue to gel as partners.

It will be intriguing to see how Gauff and McNally evolve in the years to come. Each is still young, very much in the early stage of hope and career potential. There will come many solo moments— glorious wins, the frustrating losses, as well as those solitary midnights of the soul in a hotel room far from home. But McCoco has the potential to be both an iconic doubles tandem, and a great way to broaden each player’s individual arsenal while staving off the loneliness that pervades tennis, especially for two teenagers.

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