CINCINNATI, Ohio -- Coco Gauff has every reason to be steaming with confidence as she boards the plane to New York for the final Slam of the year at the US Open. The 19-year-old American has owned the summer hard-court season, winning 11 of her 12 matches and the two biggest titles of her career.
Only two players have been able to take a set off Gauff. Both are in the Top 3. Gauff's doubles partner and top-ranked American Jessica Pegula is the only one to beat her.
On Sunday, Gauff broke through to capture her first WTA 1000 title, defeating French Open finalist Karolina Muchova in the Western & Southern Open final. A day before, she earned one of the biggest wins of her career, defeating No.1 Iga Swiatek for the first time in eight tries.
With that, Gauff heads to her home Slam as a credible short-list favorite for the title. That's a far cry from her first-round loss at Wimbledon just a month ago. That loss sent Gauff back to the drawing board. She brought on coach Pere Riba and consultant Brad Gilbert to solidify her team. She also did a lot of soul-searching.
"These last couple of weeks have just been minor adjustments, so that makes me really excited when I actually have a break in the season to really improve," Gauff said.
More from Gauff's Champions Corner interview on the WTA Insider Podcast.
WTA Insider: What was the biggest highlight of your week in Cincinnati?
Gauff: Other than the win today, it was definitely the win against Iga. I think that put a lot of confidence in me for today. Especially after the loss in Montreal, sometimes you win a title, and then you lose and you go back to your old ways. I didn't really let that loss affect me. It made me more motivated to get better.
Jess played an incredible match. I think that just inspired me even more. And honestly, seeing her beat Iga last week gave me some hope because I was like, I got close to beating her and I've beaten Jess before, so it gave me some hope that maybe this was my time.
I'm going to try to take this level, and an even higher level into the U.S. Open.
WTA Insider: Speaking of Jess, this is the first time Americans have swept the titles in Canada and Cincinnati.
Gauff: I'm just happy that we're able to still hold it down. The Williams sisters carried the country for so long. Not that Jess and I are the Williams sisters (laughs), but we did one thing that they didn't do and they did a lot of things that we'll probably never do, but that's okay.
I'm really happy that we're both doing well. That's a cool stat to say it's never been done before.
WTA Insider: How helpful has it been to have you and Jess moving up the rankings together and being solidly in the Top 10 together?
Gauff: It's been really helpful. We don't really talk to each other advice-wise, but it's having someone that you could talk to because we're on the same level in singles and doubles.
Obviously off the court, we're on different spectrums, generations and everything. But I think learning from her and how she handles losses. She'll lose and she's able to bounce back. I think that's what I learned about her the most.
I'm sure she's very disappointed when she loses, but just seeing how she doesn't let that loss carry into the next week is something that I learned a lot from her. So I tried not to let Montreal carry into this week.
WTA Insider: Over the years, how have you learned how to cope with the cauldron that is New York City, Manhattan and the US Open?
Gauff: Usually, I walk around the city with my headphones on and take in my surroundings. You just see so many people going through their lives. I realized that the moment in New York isn't as big as it seems. A lot of New Yorkers, they care about the U.S. Open, but a lot of them don't even know what the thing is.
I think that changed my perspective that the moment doesn't mean as much as I'm making it. That's the way you have to approach it, that this isn't life or death.
There are so many people working every day. People-watching made me appreciate the different perspectives in life, more than just tennis all the time.
WTA Insider: Do you catch any shows or go to concerts while you're there?
Gauff: I went to "Les Miserables" once and I fell asleep on that one (laughs). My mom was so mad at me and it wasn't really because it was bad. I had never been to a musical. It was three hours three or longer. It wasn't a good idea for me to go that day. So I will try to give it a go again because she really loved it.
I love the New York food scene and I also love to just people-watch New York. I'll go to Central Park or Times Square and go to one of the restaurants that they have on the second floor and try to get seated by the window. I just like to look at my people.
Times Square is my favorite place because you just think these people aren't real (laughs). I'm from Delray Beach, so we don't really have things like this going on. You know those memes, 'This is just an everyday in New York, you can tell who's a tourist'?
Well, I'm the tourist. I will look and stare because I've never seen half of it. It never fails to amaze me. I really love New York. I could never live there, but I love to visit.