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Gauff, Andreeva headline Saturday French Open slate

Coco Gauff isn’t used to being the older player in any tennis match, but that will be the case on for her at Roland Garros this weekend.

Up next for the 19-year-old American during thirds-round action on Saturday is current WTA sensation Mirra Andreeva, who is just 16 years old. Andreeva was runner-up at the Aussie Open juniors earlier this season and is now taking the main tour by storm. She reached the fourth round in Madrid and now the Russian finds herself in the third round of the French Open following a pair of straight-set wins.

During a recent interview with the Tennis Channel, Andreeva answered with “Coco Gauff” when asked about the friendliest faces she has encountered. That came following a practice session between the two teens.

“I’ve watched her the past couple of weeks,” Gauff said. “She’s obviously done well. And the practice with her, it was a good practice. I think she’s a great player. She’s young, but I don’t see age as a factor, to be honest. You have to play her as you would play any other person that’s grown and strong. She’s proved her position here and I’m going to try to do my best against her.

“I’m sure she’s not thinking about her age on the court. And all the people who’ve played against me when I was her age, I don’t know if they were thinking about my age. I doubt they were. I feel like it really doesn’t play a factor regarding when we step on the court. Maybe there could be an experience thing that maybe could show, but honestly I really doubt it when it’s someone of her level.

“I think she knows the game well, and she’s proved her position to be here and proved in her results in the past. So I don’t think the age thing matters. For me, I guess, I’ve never thought about my age, to be honest. I’ve played a couple of people…I think two times…this will be my third time playing someone younger than me. Honestly the first two times I didn’t even think about it because when you step on the court; you just see your opponent and you don’t really think about the personal side of things. You just see forehand, backhand, serve, and all the same.”

When it comes to Andreeva, all of those shots are as scary as her personality is large. With all of that talent combined with the impressive results over the past few weeks, it’s no wonder that her confidence soaring these days.

“The dream,” Andreeva responded when asked on Thursday about her career goals. “I know that Djokovic, he [has won] 22 Grand Slams; so I want to go until 25, if it will be possible. I don’t know.

“But I will just play. For now my goal is to win match by match; to win next match. Then if I win this match, to win next match again. That’s it. Just to win match by match.”

If Andreeva wins Saturday’s match against the 2022 French Open runner-up, the hype train will really be gaining steam.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on Twitter at @Dimonator.