No sweat for Iga Swiatek in holding off Coco Gauff challenge to reach French Open semi-finals
Iga Swiatek maintained her unbeaten record against Coco Gauff in their French Open rematch to move through to the semi-finals.
The pair had met in the final 12 months ago, with Gauff winning just four games, and the American had not won a set in their six previous clashes.
The statistic remains, although Gauff at least pushed the world number one in a 6-4 6-2 defeat, and will feel she might have done better.
The 19-year-old was unable to take the few chances she had to gain the ascendancy, particularly in the second set, and Swiatek made her pay.
The top seed has lost only 15 games in five matches, and she said: “I haven’t spent much time on court so I’m happy that today was a tighter match.”
Gauff came out with different tactics to last year’s final, testing Swiatek with high, slower balls to her backhand and trying not to allow the top seed to get into a rhythm.
It worked well to a point, with Gauff quickly retrieving an early break, but Swiatek stepped up her level to clinch the set with a brilliant returning game.
Gauff’s big opportunity came in the third game of the second set when she created three break points – the third after drilling a point-blank backhand at Swiatek at the net, sending the Pole tumbling to the clay as she tried to avoid it.
Gauff swiftly apologised, but it was Swiatek who had the last laugh as the American fired shots long on each of her opportunities.
And that would prove to be the last opening, with the two-time champion winning four games in a row to book her spot in the last four once again.
There Swiatek will face Beatriz Haddad Maia, who came from a set down to defeat Ons Jabeur and become the first Brazilian woman to reach the French Open semi-finals in the open era.
After battling for nearly four hours to beat Sara Sorribes Tormo in the fourth round, the 14th seed again found herself with work to do after losing the opening set to seventh seed Jabeur.
A very tight second went to a tie-break, which Haddad Maia took, and the Brazilian ran away with the decider to win 3-6 7-6 (5) 6-1.
Haddad Maia, 27, looked utterly stunned at the moment of victory, having never previously gone beyond the fourth round at a slam.
Her results away from the majors have been very impressive, though, and she will hope to follow in the footsteps of Brazilian Grand Slam champions Gustavo Kuerten and Maria Bueno.
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