THEY’RE going loco for Coco.
Teenage sensation Cori Gauff sprang one of the great Wimbledon upsets by beating her idol and five-time champion Venus Williams.
The 15-year-old qualifier known as Coco outplayed Williams, 39, as she made a sensational Grand Slam singles debut with a 6-4 6-4 victory.
No1 Court had already witnessed a shock with the exit of men’s No6 seed Sascha Zverev.
But if its new roof had been closed, the crowd would have taken it off after witnessing what might turn out to be one of those “I was there” moments.
The way Gauff bridged the gap in age, experience and world ranking on her singles debut suggested she could be the real deal, a true successor to Williams and her sister Serena.
Venus had won two Wimbledon titles and four Slams overall before Gauff was even born, in 2004.
But Gauff was not intimidated in the slightest by a living legend she had once asked for autographs.
The teenager went toe-to-toe with Williams from the start and deservedly claimed the first break of serve in the fifth game. There were just 33 minutes on the clock when Gauff nervelessly served out the set.
Williams tried to up the ante by hitting bigger but the balls just kept coming back.
A STAR IS BORN
After Gauff had won another rally with her amazing court coverage, it was the veteran who cracked, double-faulting twice in a row to gift her opponent the break.
The nerves finally got to her, though, when she herself double-faulted twice to allow Williams to level the second set at 4-4.
But back came Gauff, turning to her box and yelling in triumph as she broke again to earn the chance to serve for victory.
Former champion Williams saved three match points. Gauff saved a break point with a 108mph second serve, earned a fourth chance.
When Williams netted a forehand a star was truly born, with Forbes estimating her win could be worth up to £790,000 in sponsorship deals.
Speaking to the BBC immediately afterwards, the teenager said: “Honestly, I don’t know how to feel. This is the first time I have cried after a match. I don’t even know how to explain how I feel.
“I had to tell myself to stay calm. I had never played on a court so big. I had to tell myself the lines were the same even though everything was bigger. I tried to stay calm.
“Venus told me, ‘Congrats. And keep going. Good luck.’
“I told her thank you for everything she has done. I wouldn’t be here without you.
“I told her she was inspiring. I always wanted to tell her. I had met her before. Now I had the guts to tell her.
“I don’t even know what my parents will say. My dad was jumping up, I am so happy and blessed they spend all my time on me and my brothers to make sure we are successful.
“I never thought this would happen, I am living my dream, I am happy Wimbledon gave me the opportunity to play. I never thought I would get this far.”