The 15-year-old set up a mouth-watering clash with Osaka on Saturday (Picture: Getty)

Coco Gauff says she is eager to test herself against defending US Open champion Naomi Osaka on Saturday after battling her way past Timea Babos on Thursday night.

The 15-year-old became the youngest player since Anna Kournikova in 1996 to reach the third round of the women’s singles at Flushing Meadows, winning 6-2 4-6 6-4 against qualifier Babos.

Earlier in the day, Osaka beat Magda Linette in straight sets and the two youngsters will now face off on Saturday, with Gauff excited by the challenge of taking on the world No.1.

Gauff is looking to replicate her Wimbledon run, where she made the fourth round (Getty)

‘Obviously she’s an amazing player. She’s defending champion. She’s won two slams. She’s No. 1. She’s only 21,’ Gauff told reporters after her win.

‘We’re both pretty young. But I’m a little bit newer to the game. So I’m just curious to see how my game matches up against her. Obviously I want to win.

‘I just want to enjoy it, have fun, enjoy the battle. We’ll see how it goes. But my top priority right now is just doubles.’

Gauff also revealed that she practiced with the Japanese superstar a couple of years ago and says she is a ‘super sweet person’, while Osaka was equally glowing in her praise of the American teenager.

The US Open champion said: ‘Off the court she seems like me. Well, she seems a little bit more, like, she knows what she’s doing. I just mean, like, I’m very quiet. I’ve gotten actually a bit talkative recently, though.

Osaka is re-finding form after poor showings at Roland Garros and Wimbledon (Getty)

‘But I saw her in the locker room. She wasn’t really talking to anyone. I was, like, Oh, looks familiar. I’m just going to talk to her. I know she’s super young, and I know it’s sort of hard to transition.

‘I wasn’t even a junior, but I can only imagine as a junior you play these tournaments with your friends, and then you come to the pros and you don’t know anyone. I was just, like, Oh, she’s a really talented girl. I would love for her to come out of her shell a little bit. I just realize that’s probably what people say about me, too.

‘Yeah, she’s super sweet and I would love to play her, of course. For me, when I hear people talking about someone, I want to have the opportunity to play them just to assess it for myself.’





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