French Open quarter-finalist Coco Gauff feels as though she is improving with every match played as she eyes a shot at grand slam glory.
World number 23 Gauff burst onto the scene in 2019 with a run to the Wimbledon round of 16, but it took until last year's French Open for the teenage sensation to make her first grand slam quarter-final.
Gauff lost to eventual champion Barbora Krejcikova on that occasion, but she has repeated the feat this time, reaching the last eight after defeating Elise Mertens 6-4 6-0 on Sunday.
That makes the 18-year-old the seventh American female to reach two or more quarter-finals at Roland Garros before turning 19 in the Open Era, after Martina Navratilova, Andrea Jaeger, Kathy Horvath, Mary Joe Fernandez, Monica Seles, and Jennifer Capriati.
A last-eight tie with compatriot Sloane Stephens awaits for Gauff, whose sole title in 2021 came in Parma on clay.
Gauff feels she is getting better match by match, telling a news conference: "I really enjoy clay and the crowd. I feel like every match I'm getting better.
"I think today even though I had some tough moments I was able to tough it out. I really do feel like I'm progressing with each match.
"I definitely feel confident on the court. I feel like [clay] really suits my game. The previous tournaments this clay season, I had some good wins but it wasn't really any outstanding results.
7 - Cori #Gauff is the 7th American female player to reach 2+ quarter-finals at the #rolandgarros before turning 19 in the Open Era after Martina Navratilova, Andrea Jaeger, Kathy Horvath, Mary Joe Fernandez, Monica Seles and Jennifer Capriati. Future.@WTA @WTA_insider pic.twitter.com/COiDcbSFu5— OptaAce (@OptaAce) May 29, 2022
"I feel like it gave me a lot to learn from, and I think I'm taking those tough matches that I lost this season and really learning from them and I guess showing that I'm doing better."
Gauff was then asked to grade herself and how she thinks she can get to "the top of the class".
She explained: "You're never going to play your best tennis in a slam every moment of the match, but I think I'm getting better and better, and I think mentally I can't ask for much more from myself in each match.
"I mean today in the first set I had a lot of points that I probably should have closed out and made some errors on balls that I probably shouldn't have. I just stayed in it.
"I didn't not trust myself because I started to make those shots in the second set.
"To make it to the top of the class, I think just keep doing what I'm doing and not freaking out in those moments. I didn't freak out when a couple of those important points didn't go my way."