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Swiatek Dispatches Gauff To Reach Fourth French Open Final

Jun 6th 2024

Swiatek dispatches Gauff 6-2, 6-4 to reach fourth French Open final

Iga Swiatek from Poland is a 4-time grand slam champion and world #1. She won her first title on the terre battue in 2020 and is looking for her third consecutive title at Roland Garros. She arrived in Paris with two titles on the clay at the WTA 1000 level (Madrid & Rome) an abundance of confidence and a 10-1 win/loss record versus her semi-final opponent.

Coco Gauff from the United States is currently world #3 but will ascend to #2 on Monday, June 10th. The twenty-year-old is the reigning US Open champion and the 2022 French Open finalist, losing in straights to Swiatek.

Her sole victory against the defending champion was a tight three-setter last summer at the WTA 1000 event in Cincinnati. Since teaming up last July with former world #4 and legendary coach Brad Gilbert, she secured her first titles at the 500,100 0 and grand slam levels.  

Gauff won the toss and elected to serve. She opened with two consecutive forehand errors and with a third, dumped serve. Swiatek gifted a forehand error to face break point yet managed to consolidate the break for 2-0.

The #1 American struck an overhead smash and held easily to 15 to get on the board while the world #1 donated two backhand errors, faced three deuce, and break point yet held for 3-1.

Gauff hit two outstanding groundstroke winners but four unforced errors including a double fault cost her the game. Swiatek up a double break held at love for a commanding 5-1 lead.

Gauff struck three winners including an overhead smash on game point for 2-5, forcing her opponent to serve for the set. The two-time defending champion missed 3/5 first serves but after thirty-seven minutes secured the set when Gauff netted the return.

The 2023 US Open champion served first in the second and opened with an ace out wide. She gifted two double faults and faced deuce twice but with three additional winners including another ace, held for 1-0.

Swiatek continued to move her opponent laterally with pace and placement and held easily to 15 to level. Gauff opened the third with a fantastic forehand down the line and with an ace out wide and another forehand down the line, held for 2-1.

Swiatek hit three winners including her first ace but dumped serve following five unforced errors. The enthusiastic Parisian crowd erupted in applause showing support for the young American, hoping she’d eventually level the match.

Swiatek is perhaps more dangerous when trailing, pummeling any second serves or short balls. Gauff feeling the pressure to consolidate the break, missed 4/6 first serves and gave it back.

Swiatek made 4/6 first serves and held to 30 for 3-3 while Gauff donated two unforced errors including another double fault, faced triple break point, and dumped serve.

Swiatek’s exceptional defensive skills and effortless movement on the dirt were on full display as she easily consolidated the break for 5-3. Gauff serving to stay in the match missed 9/15 first serves, faced five deuce and two match points yet held for 4-5 with a brilliant backhand crosscourt.

Swiatek opened the tenth with a crosscourt backhand winner and though she missed 3/6 first serves, converted her fourth match point when Gauff whiffed an inside-out forehand.

The two-time defending champion did not bring her A-game though she did not require it to subdue her opponent. Gauff may be the reigning US Open champion but with a highly suspect forehand prone to errors, might never win another slam.

While her team has worked to improve her serve, her forehand with its extreme grip remains a huge liability.  She donated 104 unforced errors through the quarterfinals and against Swiatek committed thirty-nine.

The world #1 finished with ten winners to fourteen unforced errors. She converted 4/7 break points and won an impressive 67% of second-serve points and 68% of second-serve return points. She will need her very best on Saturday to claim her fourth French Open title and third in a row.

Jasmine Paolini the feisty and creative Italian awaits. The #15 player in the world is guaranteed a top ten ranking following her outstanding performance on the terre battue.

She continues to ride the wave of success generated earlier this season when she triumphed at the WTA 1000 event in Dubai. The twenty-eight-year-old conquered the #4 seed Elena Rybakina in three in the quarters and the seventeen-year-old phenom Mira Andreeva in straights in the semis to reach her first grand slam final.   

Swiatek won their sole previous meeting in straights at the 2022 US Open. Two years on, a ton of confidence and a different surface could bode well for the Italian who, as the underdog, will surely garner immense support from the French crowd.