In the long run it may not prove such a bad thing that Coco Gauff was unable to produce a stunning upset of Naomi Osaka.
The US Open was already full to the brim with Cocomania, and knocking out the defending champion would have sent it to levels that even such a resourceful 15 year-old might have struggled to handle.
In the end a hugely expectant Arthur Ashe Stadium had to satisfy itself with seeing the first, but definitely not the last, big match between these two, which ended amid emotional scenes with the Japanese player prevailing 6-3, 6-0 in 65 minutes with a fairly merciless display.
The lack of compassion ended at match point, when Osaka classily walked over to her opponent and asked her to do a joint interview on court with Gauff in tears.
‘I think Coco you’re amazing,’ said Osaka, who also became emotional. Gauff thanked her for showing such consideration.
Whatever concerns about Gauff being given such exposure she still showed that there is no issue about whether she belongs, in pure tennis terms, among Grand Slam fields.
Two Grand Slams and two third rounds demonstrate that, but she still does not have the consistency to beat someone of Osaka’s calibre and experience.
The top seed broke her six times in all, helped by the seven double faults were thrown in. On the big points she hit too many groundstrokes into the net, although was often capable of soaking up the easy power that was too much for Serena Williams in last year’s final.
The crowd was not so much anti-Osaka as pro-Gauff, and she was somewhat unfortunate to lose by such a margin in the second set.
About the only time she looked like she had the vulnerability of someone her age was at the end of the third game, when she began gesticulating at her support box in frustration.
The match, and occasion, ran away from her towards the end but she has time on her side, to put it mildly.
‘It was amazing. I’m going to learn a lot from this match. She’s been so sweet. Thank you for this. Thank you,’ a grateful Gauff told Osaka, who knows her from their time spent together around Florida tennis academies.
‘I don’t want people to think I’m taking this moment away from her.’
‘It’s better than going into the shower and crying,’ Osaka told the teenager as she persuaded her to join her for the interview.