'I can beat anyone' says an inspired Gauff

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Cori Gauff of the United States celebrates during the women's singles first round match against her compatriot Venus Williams at the 2019 Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Britain, July 1, 2019. (Xinhua/Lu Yang)

Cori Gauff, the 15-year-old American schoolgirl who stunned five-time champion Venus Williams in the first round, continued her Wimbledon dream debut on Wednesday when she eased into the last 32, proclaiming: "I can beat anyone."

Ranked No 313 in the world, Gauff defeated 2017 semifinalist Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia 6-3, 6-3 in the first match played entirely under the new Court One roof.

She is the youngest player to advance to the third round since compatriot Jennifer Capriati went all the way to the semifinals in 1991.

"I think I can beat anyone. If I don't think I can win the match then I won't even step on the court," Gauff said.

Her confidence is justified.

She has yet to drop a set in five matches at the tournament, including three in qualifying.

In her two matches in the main draw, she has been broken just once and has committed a paltry 18 unforced errors.

Still, Gauff said she is staying grounded in the face of her sudden fame.

She is unwinding by watching YouTube videos of make-up tips while giggling along to online pranks. Her phone is loaded with goodwill messages.

"One is (14-year-old actress) Navia Robinson. My little brother actually watches one of the shows she's on.

"Storm Reid, another actor, she's in the new series Euphoria," Gauff explained to a generally mystified press corps.

"Surprisingly, social media relaxes me before the match. That's what I do. Not really Instagram so much. I just watch You-Tube videos before my match. It gets me in a laughing spirit."

Despite her nods to everyday teenage pastimes, Gauff insists she has a serious streak.

During qualifying, where she played on a wild card, she needed to complete a high school science exam.

It's all part of her strong work ethic instilled in her by parents Corey and Candi Gauff, both successful college athletes.

"They just told me, 'You have another match. The tournament's not over. Don't focus too much on what happened.' My goal is to win it," she said.

Practice is also key, even if it means driving herself harder and harder on the courts.

"These last couple weeks, when they say practice is over, I say, 'Let's do one more. Hit the ball harder to me.'

"I was telling my training partner Courtney, 'I need you to hit the ball harder ... we need to do more rounds.'

"I didn't know this would happen. Looking back on these past few weeks, I can see how maybe that little extra time definitely helped."

Next up for Gauff is a last-32 clash against world No 60 Polona Hercog of Slovenia on Friday.

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