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A teenager has taken the Citi Open by storm and she’s not Coco Gauff

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WASHINGTON - If someone a week ago had said a teenager would be in the women’s semifinals of the Citi Open, many would assume that it would be Coco Gauff. Turns out it is Gauff’s doubles partner and close friend, Catherine McNally that is making the run in Washington D.C.  

After an hour and 22 minute 6-4, 6-3 win over world No. 31 Su-Wei Hsieh and the fourth seed in the tournament, the young American is in the semifinals. 

McNally, 17, is two years older than Gauff and the last remaining teenager in the Citi Open draw. As a partner with one of the tour’s immediate darlings in D.C., fans quickly jumped on the bandwagon. All the attention Gauff received in the first round and qualifying rounds has transitioned to her.

In D.C., McNally is going through a similar run that her close friend did last month in London. The Cincinnati, Oh. native has made her maiden WTA semifinal in only her fourth WTA-level event. Before this season she had yet to appear in a WTA tournament and has needed Wild Cards and qualifying tournaments to even make the mid-tier events. Based on how she has performed at Rock Creek Park that might not be an issue anymore. 

"[Gauff's run] just kind of put a fire in my belly that showed me I can do the same thing," McNally said post-match.

While not quite the same as Gauff’s Round of 16 run at Wimbledon, McNally's surprising success is still impressive. She had yet to earn her first singles main draw victory before this event.

 

"I watched all of [Gauff's] matches [at Wimbledon]," McNally said on Thursday. "It shows me because I've played really close with her and I've had chances to win that I'm right there too."

All three of her wins have been against played ranked higher than her in the world rankings. On her way to this point, the right-handed power player made relatively quick work of her opposition. In addition to Hsieh, she knocked out Zhu Lin (world No. 125) in straight sets for a first-round victory. Then she ousted fellow countrywoman Christiana McHale (No. 105) in a three-setter that just went over two hours. 

Total, she has spent five hours and 10 minutes on the singles court. She and Gauff are still alive in the Citi Open doubles draw. Her success has all happened so quickly that McNally has not had time to adjust.

"The past few nights I got to bed at like 1:00 a.m. because of doubles," McNally said earlier this week. "It just is a reality of what the tour is like. It's not going to be easy, but whoever can handle all of these situations and take all the positives and bring the right energy, I think that's who's going to succeed."

Not a bad showing for a Wild Card player that has steadily progressed each tournament she’s played. As a result, her current No. 150 ranking has risen to a projected No. 124. That could go even higher based on her results in the semifinals against either Camila Giorgi or Zarina Diyas.

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