Iga Świątek is still on track to defend her French Open championship as she breezed past Coco Gauff 6-4 6-2 and advanced to the semifinals at Roland-Garros.
In a second match between the same opponents as last year’s final, Świątek ultimately proved to be too skilled for Gauff to contend with. Despite Gauff’s persistent strength and accuracy, Świątek’s unyielding power and consistency 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.
Up next for Świątek is Beatriz Haddad Maia, who earlier on Wednesday upset Ons Jabeur in three sets to become the first Brazilian woman to reach a grand slam semifinal in the Open Era.
“After the game, I am quite content with my performance,” humbly stated Świątek, who has achieved a spot in 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 in two sets. In the first set, I remained strong during crucial moments. It was a challenging match, particularly with the strong winds, but I am content to have reached 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 evenly matched in the first set, trading early breaks of serve. However, the pressure got to Gauff when she was serving at 4-5 to stay in the set. Świątek took advantage and broke to love, gaining the lead in the match.
Unfortunately for Gauff, this marked the start of her downfall as she was unable to prevent Świątek from achieving a decisive triumph.
If there were any doubters of Świątek’s abilities in Paris, that group has likely dwindled even further.
During her journey to the semifinals, the three-time grand slam champion has only lost 15 games. One of her wins was a 5-1 walkover against Lesia Tsurenko. She is highly favored to win her third title at Roland-Garros.
According to Opta, Świątek is the first tennis player since Conchita Martinez in 1995 to have only lost 15 or fewer games and still make it to the semifinals at the French Open.
The second-ranked player in the world, Aryna Sabalenka, will face Karolína Muchová in the semifinals on Thursday. She undoubtedly possesses the skills to challenge Świątek, but going up against her on clay – which is possibly Sabalenka’s least preferred surface – presents a new challenge altogether.
Świątek has had a lot of quick matches during this tournament, with four bagels already recorded. This has resulted in ample downtime for her in Paris.
What does the reigning champion do to unwind and enjoy her free time when she’s not on the court?
“I just finished watching Madam Secretary and I’m currently watching the second season of Ted Lasso, but it’s quite short so I’ll probably finish it tomorrow,” joked Świątek.
It’s safe to assume that she may have sufficient time to complete a couple more series before the tournament concludes.