Gauff prepares for Osaka rematch with different mindset, outlook
After wins over Venus Williams and Sorana Cirstea in the first two rounds, Gauff will enter the match against Osaka with a different approach.
"I think I'll be less nervous this time", she said after referring to their third-round encounter at the U.S. Open last year, won by Osaka 6-3, 6-0. "At the U.S. Open, I was nervous. It was my first time on Ashe.
"For sure I'll be more confident because i've felt her ball before. We're both familiar with each other's game. She plays really aggressive. This time coming i'm going to be more aggressive."
The world number 67 feels she has no pressure on her this time around against the two-time major champion.
"I think in general my mindset has been nothing to lose really", she stated. "Even when I was in junior's, even though I was ranked pretty high, when I was technically supposed to win, I still felt like I really had nothing to lose.
"I stI'll feel that now. I think my mindset just i'm just going to fight. If I lose, the world is not going to end. I'm going to have another match in a week or so. I feel like it's less pressure for me. I feel like for me, i'm not trying to win so much but trying to play my best tennis on the court. Winning comes with that if I play good."
Gauff recalled the emotional post-match reaction, which Osaka called her young rival "amazing". "It was definitely a good moment, especially for me", she said. "But I think more just for the people watching, the little girls watching and the little boys watching who can kind of see what sportsmanship really is.
"I think that's something I would want my child to see. It just shows what being a competitor really is. You might hate the person on the court, but off the court, you love them. Not hate, but you want to win. Sometimes when we're on the court, we say things we don't mean because we have that mentality.
"When it's all said and done, we all look at each other with respect and the same."