Follow @cnnsport But after getting a bit of luck, the 15-year-old has taken full advantage to become the WTA's youngest tennis finalist since Nicole Vaidisova in 2004 after beating Andrea Petkovic 6-4 6-4 Saturday. Gauff became a crowd favorite and household name at Wimbledon in July when she qualified, then beat one of her idols, Venus Williams, as part of a weeklong stay at tennis' most prestigious grand slam. She showed poise well above her teenaged years. Gauff was congratulated by the likes of former first lady Michelle Obama and actor and musician Jaden Smith, the son of Will Smith. Then as a wildcard at her home major, the US Open in August, it took the defending champion, Naomi Osaka, to stop the Florida resident in the third round. READ: Osaka chooses to represent Japan at OlympicsREAD: Clijsters to come out of retirement Limited in the number of WTA events she can play due to her age, Linz marked Gauff's first tournament since New York. "This is my first final and first tournament on the WTA ever making it to anything 'final' at the end, like quarterfinal or semifinal," Gauff told reporters. "Obviously a lot of players play for the grand slams and want to win slams but I think this is a good stepping stone in the right direction. "This kind of proves I'm able to hang in on this level and I'm really proud of myself today."
A "lucky loser"
She fell in qualifying to Tamara Korpatsch but snuck into the main draw as a "lucky loser" when another player pulled out injured, beat Stefanie Voegele in the first round and advanced to her first ever quarterfinal when Kateryna Kozlova — who won the first set — retired with a left leg injury. Good fortune then for Gauff but there was no luck involved as she stunned top-seed Kiki Bertens Friday to post a first top-10 victory. On Saturday she followed it up by downing former top-10 player Petkovic — who at 32 is more than double Gauff's age. Gauff saved nine of 10 break points. "First time in my life, even in juniors, that I got into something as a lucky Read More – Source