Mon, 25 Sep 2023

Iga Swiatek on Wednesday beat Coco Gauff for the seventh consecutive time to maintain her defence of her French Open crown.

Swiatek, 21, came into the second Grand Slam competition of the year attempting to become only the sixth woman since the tournament was opened up to professionals in 1968 to retain her title in Paris.

The Pole drew first blood in the seventh meeting between the pair. She led 3-1 but could not confirm the advantage.

And Gauff reeled her in for 3-3 courtesy of some uncharacteristic errors from Swiatek on her forehand wing.

Gauff projected an agile menace more than capable of emulating or eclipsing the preternatural athleticism of her opponent.

But the 19-year-old American cracked when serving to level at 5-5.


Swiatek was on her way.

And from 2-2 in the second set, there was a four-game run that wrapped up the set 6-2 and the match with it.

"It wasn't easy as Coco has been playing really well and it was a tight first set," Swiatek told the on-court interviewer Marion Bartoloi.

"She is young but she has lots of experience."

Swiatek's quest to add the 2023 trophy to the one from last year and 2020 will next encounter the 14th seed Beatriz Haddad Maia.

The 27-year-old Brazilian came from a set down to dispatch the seventh seed Ons Jabeur 3-6, 7-6, 6-1 to become the first woman from the country to reach the semi-finals since Maria Bueno in 1968.

"I'm happy with my mentality because I had to be very patient and to wait for the opportunity," said Haddad Maia. "I'm proud because of that."

In the lower half of the men's draw, the 22nd seed Alex Zverev plays the unseeded Argentine Tomas Martin Etcheverry and the sixth seed Holger Rune takes on the fourth seed Casper Ruud.

Originally published on RFI

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