Coco Gauff Reflects on Her Progress After Advancing in US Open: ‘I Should Be Proud of Myself’

The American tennis star opened up about "how far I've come" after advancing to the third round of the US Open on Wednesday

Four years into her still young career, Coco Gauff can already recognize her own growth as a player.

The tennis star, 19, told reporters she felt the impact of her own maturity in her match Wednesday night, defeating Mirra Andreeva from Russia to advance to the third round of the US Open.

“I’m really happy with how I played,” Gauff said during a press conference after the game.

“Obviously, maturity plays a part into it,” she added. “The more matches you have, the more experience you have.”

Gauff is chasing down her first Grand Slam title and is perhaps riding the biggest wave of momentum she's ever had coming into the US Open. The Florida native has won 13 of her last 14 matches, winning two tournaments in that span — including a win over world No. 1 Iga Swiatek.

Related: Coco Gauff Says She’s ‘Not Trying' to Follow in Serena Williams’ ‘Footsteps’: ‘She’s the G.O.A.T.’ (Exclusive)

<p>Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty</p> Coco Gauff

Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty

Coco Gauff

Earlier this month, Gauff told PEOPLE “the goal is to win” at this month’s tournament at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City.

To reach that “ultimate goal” of winning her first Grand Slam title, Gauff said as of late she’s been trying to approach games with the same “carefree” attitude she has during practice, hoping to calm any potential nerves.

“For me, the most important thing is to try to minimize the moment because the moment can seem so big,” Gauff told PEOPLE.

On Wednesday, Gauff appeared as cool as can be. She defeated Andreeva, 16, in straight sets: 6-2 and 6-3.

Related: Coco Gauff on Chasing Her First Grand Slam Title at the US Open: 'The Goal Is to Win' (Exclusive)

<p>Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty</p> Coco Gauff

Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty

Coco Gauff

Gauff said after the match that playing someone who was years younger than her — a rarity thus far in her career — helped put her own career in perspective, showing her progression from an underdog upstart at 15 years old to an expected Grand Slam finalist four years later.

One definable change, Gauff said, has been her ability to change her mentality heading into a big match, pointing to her dramatic turnaround in play since losing in the opening round of Wimbledon earlier this summer.

Related: Coco Gauff Says She's 'Going to Never Forget' the Obamas Surprising Her After US Open Win

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“That adjustment just happened a lot with age,” Gauff told reporters on Wednesday.

“I think for me that adjustment just happened a lot with age and also with you know, the new team and just hearing new things,” she continued. “I think today just reminded me – I don't know if playing a younger person just reminded me – how far I've come and I should be proud of myself. And that process is necessary. Those losses are necessary for growth."

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