Gauff aims to end poor record against Swiatek

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Screenshot 2024 06 06 072312
GETTY IMAGES

Image caption: Coco Gauff has reached the semi-final of a Grand Slam event for the fourth time

Coco Gauff says she needs to “find a better way” of playing Iga Swiatek before the pair meet in the French Open semi-finals on Thursday.
Polish world number one Swiatek has won 10 of their 11 previous meetings, including the past three and two matches at Roland Garros – the 2022 final and a quarter-final a year later.
Swiatek, 23, won the French Open in 2020, 2022 and 2023. She has not lost in 19 successive matches in the event and reached the final four this tournament by thrashing Marketa Vondrouvosa 6-0 6-2.

“She’s definitely a tough opponent for me and for anybody,” said 20-year-old American Gauff. “She’s playing great tennis here, so it’s going to be a challenge, but I’m going to go into the match with a lot of belief that I can win.
“I definitely think I have to find a better way to play her.”
Britain’s Neal Skupski and American Desirae Krawczyk will compete in their first French Open mixed doubles final as a partnership on Thursday.
They will face second seeds Laura Siegemund and Edouard Roger-Vasselin, of Germany and France respectively.
In the men’s wheelchair singles, Britain’s three-time champion Alfie Hewett plays two-time winner Argentine Gustavo Fernandez for a place in the final.
IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES
Image caption: Iga Swiatek (right) won the 2022 French Open final – the second of her four Grand Slam titles
‘It was easier to crack her’
Swiatek has won four Grand Slam titles and defeated Gauff 6-1 6-3 in the 2022 French Open final – the first Slam final of Gauff’s career.
Gauff won the US Open in 2023 and enjoyed her best run at the Australian Open this year, reaching the semi-finals before losing to eventual champion Aryna Sabalenka.
Swaitek now sees the third-seeded Gauff as a tougher opponent than earlier in her career.
“Her mental game is a little bit better,” added Swiatek. “Before it was kind of easier to ‘crack her’, when you were leading. But it’s normal that she’s making progress. She’s at that age that everything goes pretty nicely, that if you’re working hard then you will get progress.
“She’s probably doing that, and probably every aspect of her game is a little bit better, because it’s different being a teenager on the tour and then being a more mature player.”
In response to Swiatek’s comments, Gauff said: “I don’t know if it’s something I actively worked on or if it’s just maturity over the years. You just get older and learn how to handle the pressures a little bit more.
“I don’t have a mental coach, but it is something I knew I had to improve and just be more positive.”
Paolini and Andreeva aim for first Slam final
In the other semi-final, Italian 12th seed Jasmine Paolini will face 17-year-old Russian Mirra Andreeva.
Before this tournament, Paolini, 28, had only made it past the second round of a Slam on one occasion – the Australian Open earlier this year when she lost to Russia’s Anna Kalinskaya in the last 16.
But wins over Australian Daria Saville, American Hailey Baptiste, Canadian Bianca Andreescu and Russian Elina Avanesyan took Paolini into her first Slam quarter-final.
On Wednesday she defeated fourth seed Elena Rybakina from Kazakhstan, the 2022 Wimbledon champion, 6-2 4-6 6-4 to advance into the semi-finals.
With Jannik Sinner already through to the men’s final four, it is the first time an Italian man and woman have reached the semi-finals at the same Slam.
Neither Paolini nor Andreeva have played in a Slam final, with the teenager moving into the final four thanks to a come-from-behind 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-4 win to eliminate world number two Aryna Sabalenka on Wednesday.
Andreeva is set to move into the top 25 of the world rankings for the first time in what has been a fantastic 12 months for her.
She reached the last 16 at Wimbledon last summer and thrashed three-time Slam finalist Ons Jabeur on her way to the same stage at the Australian Open earlier this year.



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