Iga Swiatek eliminates Coco Gauff to reach the French Open final

PARIS — PARIS (AP) — Iga Swiatek eliminated Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4 in the French Open semifinals Thursday and stretched her winning streak at Roland Garros to 20 matches.

The top-ranked Swiatek is trying to earn her fourth championship in five years in Paris and can become the first woman with three in a row here since Justine Henin from 2007-09.

Swiatek improved to 11-1 overall against No. 3 seed Gauff, the reigning U.S. Open champion, and has defeated her at the clay-court Grand Slam tournament three years in a row, including in the 2022 final and last year’s quarterfinals.

In Saturday’s title match, Swiatek will face either unseeded 17-year-old Mirra Andreeva of Russia or No. 12 Jasmine Paolini of Italy.

Swiatek, who turned 23 last week, is 4-0 in major finals so far and she has been at her dominant best for most of the past two weeks.

Putting aside a three-set, second-round victory over four-time major champion Naomi Osaka, when she was forced to save a match point, Swiatek has ceded a total of merely 17 games in her other five matches.

Displaying her usual brand of powerful-but-clean groundstrokes, Swiatek needed only 10 winners to advance on Thursday, in part because she made only 14 unforced errors — while Gauff finished with 39.

It did not take long for Swiatek to assert herself on a sunny afternoon in Court Philippe Chatrier, where several spectators waved red and white flags of her native Poland — even drawing an admonition from chair umpire Aurélie Tourte in the second set.

When Gauff missed the mark early, she really missed it. One return went off her racket frame. Another flew 10 feet long. The opening game ended when Gauff wildly hit a swinging volley that landed way out, too, handing over a break.

Swiatek went up by a double break at 4-1 when Gauff netted a backhand, then slapped her thigh and smacked her racket against a bag on her sideline bench. There were other examples of negative body language from Gauff: a bowed head here, slumped shoulders there.

It’s not as though Gauff did not have some chances to make more of a match of this.

In each of Swiatek’s first two service games, she faced a break point. But each time, Gauff failed to convert.

In the second set, an hour into the semifinal, Gauff finally broke to lead 3-1. That came shortly after Gauff got into a disagreement with Tourte over a ruling.

A serve by Swiatek was called out just as Gauff was missing her attempted return. Tourte awarded the point to Swiatek, saying the line judge’s call did not affect Gauff’s swing; Gauff argued that it did.

“It’s a Grand Slam semifinal, know the rules of the game,” Gauff told the official.

The 20-year-old American wound up breaking there with a forehand winner down the line and she wagged her fingers to request louder support from the fans, and they gave it to her.

Might the momentum be shifting?

No. Swiatek immediately responded with a four-game run, and then it was just a matter of closing things out.

That wasn’t easy, which shouldn’t be a surprise against Gauff. But Swiatek completed the job on her fourth match point when Gauff missed a forehand, eliciting chants of “Iga! Iga!” from the stands.


AP Sports Writer Jerome Pugmire contributed to this report.


AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis

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