"If somebody told me this three weeks ago, I probably wouldn't believe it," the 15-year-old said. "But I think just put in the work definitely raised my confidence because I knew how hard I worked and I knew shots I could make and what was possible." Halep, who was the world no. 1 in January, advances to the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 6-3 win. The 27-year-old Romanian has one major title: the French Open in 2018.
After becoming the youngest player to reach Wimbledon through qualifying, Gauff entered the tournament ranked No. 313 in the world. Wimbledon was Grand Slam's main draw singles debut.
She'll return home to Delray Beach, Florida, as a celebrity.
After the match, Michelle Obama tweeting about her success
She's been laser- focused on tennis this week and is only now able to process the ways in which she's inspired the world.
"It's amazing. I don't know how the rest of the world reacted, because I'm still in London. Even with all this going on, I still felt like I was in a bubble, because I've just been to the tournament-hotel-tournament-hotel, because I've been finishing so late, "she said.
But the most important outpouring of support will come from those closest to here.
"I'm excited to go home now and see my family," Gauff said. "I saw a video and they were saying they were so proud of me, so that they are happy."
Accolades from her idols have been pouring in
Gauff said that one "meant a lot to me because I looked up for a long time, and she's such a role model, and I was really shocked. I wasn't expecting that. That was probably one of the least expected. "
"I hope they learned about me, I'm a fighter and I'll never give up, "she said. "19659002]
Due to Women's Tennis Association age restrictions to prevent burnout in young players, Gauff can't play as many tournaments as she wants, like an older player can. She is eligible for up to seven more professional tournaments before March when she turns 16.
But that still means there are plenty of opportunities for the next Coco fix.
The US Open, which starts next month, is one tournament where Gauff could appear.
CNN's Wayne Sterling contributed to this report.