Coco Gauff ranks high school graduation above French Open semi-final place

Coco Gauff

Coco Gauff claimed finishing her exams was tougher than reaching the French Open semi-final.

Gauff is in the last four of a grand slam for the first time after passing her latest test with flying colours against fellow American Sloane Stephens.

The 18-year-old graduated from high school while in Paris having successfully combined her studies with life on the WTA Tour.

And Gauff is now just two matches away from moving to the top of the class as a grand slam champion.

“Was graduating tougher? Yes because I know how hard it was to do school and play tennis on the road,” said the 18th seed after her 7-5 6-2 victory.

“Other players in general get out of sight with life and we think tennis is the most important thing in the world. It is not.

“So getting my high-school diploma meant a lot to me.”

Gauff was a quarter-finalist at Roland Garros last year, where she was beaten by eventual champion Barbora Krejcikova.

She went one better with an accomplished, mature display against the player who beat her at the US Open last year.

“I feel so happy right now that words can’t explain,” Gauff added. “Last year’s quarter-final was a tough loss and it made me stronger and better prepared for moments like today.

“Last time I played (Stephens) I lost so I’m glad today it went different. I told myself to stay mentally there, and that I know there would be shots that I should probably have made.

“And there would be some shots that she would get in the court that no players can reach. It was a mental challenge.”

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Martina Trevisan beat Laylah Fernandez (Jean-Francois Badias/AP)

Gauff will face another first-time semi-finalist, the 28-year-old Italian Martina Trevisan, who knocked out 19-year-old Canadian Leylah Fernandez 2-6 7-6 (3) 6-3.

It has been a tough journey for Trevisan, who is ranked 59 in the world and is named after Martina Navratilova, as she spent four years away from tennis to battle an eating disorder.

She said: “I’m happy on the court. I’m doing what I love. So my past is the past, and it helped me to be in the present, to be what I am right now.”