Iga Świątek is on track to defend her French Open championship, as she comfortably defeated Coco Gauff 6-4 6-2 to advance to the semifinals at Roland-Garros.
In a repeat of the previous year’s championship match, Świątek proved to be too skilled for Gauff to handle. Her unyielding strength and accuracy eventually wore down the American player.
Świątek has now beaten Gauff in all seven of their meetings on the WTA Tour, with the teenager yet to even take a set off the Polish world No. 1.
Świątek’s next opponent will be Beatriz Haddad Maia, who caused an upset on Wednesday by defeating Ons Jabeur in three sets. This victory also made her the first Brazilian woman to reach a grand slam semifinal in the Open Era.
“I am quite content with my performance after the match,” stated the humble Świątek, who has advanced to the semifinals in four out of the last six major tournaments, in an interview with the Tennis Channel.
“I am pleased that I managed to win the match in two sets. In crucial moments of the first set, I maintained a strong performance. Despite the challenging windy conditions today, I am content to have advanced to the semifinals.”
Facing Świątek on clay must currently be one of the most daunting prospects in sport and the 22-year-old was once against in commanding, irresistible form against Gauff, in particular as she raced away in the second set.
Gauff and her opponent were neck and neck in the first set, each breaking the other’s serve early on. But as the set went on, Gauff began to feel the heat, especially when she was serving at 4-5 to stay in the set. Świątek took advantage and broke her serve to love, giving her the lead in the match.
The match marked the start of the downfall for Gauff, who was unable to prevent Świątek’s certain path to winning.
If there were any doubters of Świątek’s success in Paris, they will be even fewer after her recent performance.
The three-time champion of the grand slam has only lost 15 games, which includes a 5-1 victory due to a walkover against Lesia Tsurenko, in her journey to the semifinals. She is highly expected to win her third title at Roland-Garros.
According to Opta, Świątek is the first player since Conchita Martinez in 1995 to advance to the semifinals of the French Open while losing only 15 games or less.
Aryna Sabalenka, ranked second in the world, will face Karolína Muchová in the semifinals on Thursday. She certainly possesses the skills to challenge Świątek, but competing against the Polish player on clay – which is not Sabalenka’s preferred surface – presents a unique challenge.
After winning several matches quite easily, including four instances of not losing a single game in this tournament, Świątek has had a lot of free time in Paris.
What does the reigning champion do to unwind and occupy herself when she is not on the court?
“I just finished watching Madam Secretary and I’m currently on the second season of Ted Lasso. It’s a short season, so I’ll probably finish it tomorrow,” Świątek joked.
It is reasonable to assume that she will have sufficient time to complete a few additional series before the tournament concludes.