Swiatek overwhelms Gauff to reach final in Paris

PARIS — Iga Swiatek is as good as it gets in tennis at the moment, especially at the French Open. Been that way for quite some time. So her unyielding success against Coco Gauff just about everywhere — and certainly at Roland Garros — should come as no surprise by now.

Swiatek continued her mastery over Gauff and extended her winning streak in Paris to 20 matches with a 6-2, 6-4 victory in the semifinals on Thursday.

“For sure, it was intense,” said the No. 1-ranked Swiatek, who claimed five of the last six games after trailing 3-1 in the second set. “I’m happy that I just was consistent with my tactics and didn’t overthink stuff and just went for it at the end.”

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

Swiatek is trying to earn her fourth championship in five years at the French Open and can become the first woman with three in a row since Justine Henin from 2007-09.

Swiatek improved to 11-1 overall against No. 3 seed Gauff, the reigning US Open champion. That is more victories than Swiatek has accumulated against any other player — and includes head-to-head wins at the clay-court Grand Slam tournament three years in a row, including in the 2022 final and last year’s quarterfinals.

“She is progressing a lot. You can see by her results. Last year’s U.S. Open, for sure, showed that she’s tough. At this age, it’s kind of obvious that she’s going to just grow. So it’s nice to see her handling well everything around her, because it’s not easy,” said Swiatek, who turned 23 last week. “I’m sure we’re going to have plenty more really intense matches on the really highest level.”

As far as Gauff is concerned, perhaps a different opponent would be preferable.

Swiatek, who is 4-0 in major finals, has been at her dominant best for most of the past two weeks, following up on titles at clay events in Rome and Madrid.

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 in Paris.

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.

This is what Swiatek does to whoever is across the net, particularly on clay: With defense and precision, she makes them hit so many shots that eventually the mistakes are bound to come.

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. 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 she 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.

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, who gave it to her.

Might the momentum be shifting?


Swiatek immediately responded with a four-game run, and then it was just a matter of closing things out.

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

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