Coco Gauff on facing ‘champion’ Iga Swiatek in San Diego: ‘It’s going to be an opportunity to see if I improved’

Coco Gauff swinging

Coco Gauff beat former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu in the second round of the San Diego Open and her reward is a French Open final rematch against world No 1 Iga Swiatek.

American Gauff found herself staring down the barrel on Thursday as she was a 0-2, 15-40 in the deciding set against Andreescu, but dug herself out of a hole as she broke in games six and eight to win 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 in two hours and 30 minutes

“There were some turning points, but every game mattered, every point mattered,” Gauff, who is looking to win her first title since lifting the Emilia-Romagna Open trophy in May last year, said about her win over the Canadian. “We both fought hard and the atmosphere was great.”

And it doesn’t get easier for the 18-year-old as she will face the imperious Swiatek for a place in the semi-final after the Pole defeated world No 28 Zheng Qinwen in three sets.

Swiatek has been in a class of her own this season as she has already won 60 matches this year, topped the rankings since March and also lifted six trophies – including the French Open and US Open.

The world No 1 also has also dominated her head-to-head Gauff so far as she is 3-0, winning the final at Roland Garros in June, in the round of 16 in Rome in March and the semi-final in Rome last May. All those matches were won without dropping a set.

The French Open final was a particularly brutal one for Gauff as she never settled in first Grand Slam final with the Pole winning 6-1, 6-3 in just over an hour.

Asked about the upcoming clash against Swiatek, Gauff replied: “Obviously the level is going to be great. Iga is a champion and it’s going to be an opportunity to see if I improved since the last time.”

Swiatek is assured of the year-end No 1 spot in the WTA Rankings while Gauff, who is currently at a career-high No 8, has moved up to No 7 while only a tournament win could see her potentially climb to No 5.

The match is set to get underway at 01:30 BST on Saturday morning and the winner will take on either fourth seed Jessica Pegula or Madison Keys.

In the bottom half of the draw, second seed Paula Badosa will face Danielle Collins while third seed Aryna Sabalenka takes on qualifier Donna Vekic.