Iga Swiatek wary of Coco Gauff threat in blockbuster French Open semi-final


Iga Swiatek wary of Coco Gauff threat in blockbuster French Open semi-final

Iga Swiatek has won her last 17 matches
Iga Swiatek has won her last 17 matchesReuters
World number one Iga Swiatek (23) holds a commanding 10-1 record over Coco Gauff (20) but the top seed feels the American has matured since she burst on to the scene as a teenager and will pose a stern test when they meet in the French Open semi-finals on Thursday.

Gauff's lone win over Swiatek came on a hardcourt at Cincinnati last year where the American prevailed in a three-setter en route to her first WTA 1000 title, which also paved the way for her to win a first Grand Slam at the U.S. Open.

Swiatek has won their last three encounters in straight sets, however, and the Pole is not taking Gauff lightly even though she ended the American's hopes at Roland Garros in the 2022 final and quarter-finals last year.

"I think her mental game is a little bit better. Before it was kind of easier to 'crack her' when you were leading," Swiatek said of Gauff.

"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 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."

Ever since Swiatek survived a scare against Naomi Osaka in the second round, the Pole has brushed aside opponents with ease, serving up a double bagel win over Anastasia Potapova and thrashing Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova.

Swiatek's last win over Gauff came on clay in the semi-finals of the Italian Open last month and the American said she has to "find a better way" to play the world number one who has won her last 17 matches.

"I've obviously been unsuccessful the last couple of times we've played, regardless of the surface and anything. She's definitely a tough opponent for me and for anybody," Gauff said.

"I just have to go back and watch, try to find what I have to do. I think 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.

"I'm going to try to get a plan from my team and then also my own plan and see where we can find a blend."

With Elena Rybakina and Aryna Sabalenka both suffering upsets in the quarter-finals, the other last-four clash features Italy's 12th seed Jasmine Paolini playing Russia's unseeded teenager Mirra Andreeva.

A semi-final at a major is uncharted territory for both players and a remarkable achievement for Andreeva, who is the youngest Grand Slam semi-finalist in nearly three decades after former world number one Martina Hingis.

The pair met in Madrid where Andreeva came out on top in the last-16 - the only meeting between the two players.

"It was really tough mentally and game-wise. She plays really fast and moves really fast. She goes for it, it doesn't matter what the situation or score is," Andreeva said.

"It'll be a bit like today. I'll try to play the same level and with the same cool head. We'll see what will happen."


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