Gauff recovers to set up Swiatek semi-final

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Image caption: Coco Gauff won her maiden Grand Slam title at the US Open last year

American third seed Coco Gauff reached the French Open semi-finals after recovering to beat Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur in an absorbing contest.
Gauff, 20, showed her maturity and mentality to win 4-6 6-2 6-3 at Roland Garros on Tuesday.
The US Open champion will play Polish top seed Iga Swiatek, who beat her in the 2022 final, in the last four on Thursday.

Swiatek continued her bid for a third straight title with a 6-0 6-2 win over Czech fifth seed Marketa Vondrousova.
After a superb opening set from eighth seed Jabeur, Gauff continued to believe in her game and took advantage of her opponent’s level dipping.
Gauff was unable to convert a match point on Jabeur’s serve at 5-2 in the decider, and survived a break point at 5-3, before getting over the line when her opponent dumped an overhead long.
A passionate roar as Gauff celebrated in the middle of the court indicated the magnitude of the test she had come through.
“She’s a tough opponent,” said Gauff, who saw Jabeur save a second match point before missing on the third.
“I was trying to be more aggressive, she was playing really well and hitting a lot of winners – which I’m not used to.
“I got a little bit tight but I did what I needed to do.”
Boisterous atmosphere inspires Gauff
Gauff has followed up winning the Grand Slam title which her prodigious talent had long promised with another strong season on the WTA Tour.
Now, after reaching the Australian Open semi-finals in January, she has moved into the last four at a third successive major tournament.
She did it on the Paris clay by recovering from dropping a set for the first time this tournament.
Jabeur played superbly in the opening set, absorbing Gauff’s power from the baseline with her forehand and serving strongly to give her opponent little chance on return.
In a city with a huge Tunisian population, Jabeur always receives passionate support and her fans celebrated her winning the set by singing a popular football-style terrace chant.
Gauff said the atmosphere also inspired her.
“Whenever I’m not playing, I cheer for Ons too, so thank you guys for making it a great atmosphere. I like playing in atmospheres like this,” she told the crowd on Court Philippe Chatrier.
“I know you wanted her to win, but even when I was in the bathroom [after the first set] I was thinking ‘this is really fun, win or lose’.”
Three-time major finalist Jabeur has endured a tough season because of a niggling knee injury and struggled for form before rediscovering her level at Roland Garros.
However, the 29-year-old was unable to sustain the pressure she put Gauff under.
Struggling to land as many first serves, and beginning to make rash decisions in her returning, was costly as Gauff turned the match around.
“The quarter-finals is not bad. I’ll take it,” said Jabeur.
“I’m trying to be less hard with myself and be proud with the way I was fighting.”
Swiatek hands out another thrashing
The question coming into the clay-court major was: who can stop Swiatek at Roland Garros?
Nobody is any closer to answering it following another imperious performance from the 23-year-old world number one.
Since fighting past Naomi Osaka in the second round, Swiatek has gone up a gear.
Swiatek only needed 40 minutes to thrash Anastasia Potapova 6-0 6-0 in the last 16 and carried on where she left off with a 28-minute bagel against Vondrousova.
Vondrousova was the runner-up at Roland Garros in 2019 and is the reigning Wimbledon champion, but Swiatek operated on a different level.
After briefly coming under pressure on serve at 1-1 in the second set, Swiatek held for 2-1 and broke again for 3-1 on her way to teeing up another match against Gauff, who she also beat in the quarter-finals last year.
“Today it was pretty straightforward. I’m happy that I kept my focus. Sometimes I felt the game was pretty intense,” said Swiatek.
“Sometimes the intensity went down a bit. I wanted to just play my game no matter what was coming back from Marketa. I felt like I was in the zone today.”

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