Iga Swiatek ready for tough test against improving Coco Gauff

The Pole has won 10 of the pair’s 11 meetings but acknowledged her young opponent’s ‘progress’ ahead of their French Open semi-final.

Andy Sims
Tuesday 04 June 2024 17:47 BST
Iga Swiatek’s fine form continued in a quarter-final win over Marketa Vondrousova (Thibault Camus/AP)
Iga Swiatek’s fine form continued in a quarter-final win over Marketa Vondrousova (Thibault Camus/AP) (AP)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


Iga Swiatek will meet Coco Gauff for a place in the final of the French Open in the 12th instalment of what has, so far, been a one-sided rivalry.

World number one Swiatek has won 10 of their 11 meetings, the most recent coming in Rome last month and the most important being the Roland Garros final in 2022.

The 23-year-old Pole is in ominous form as she hunts a third straight title and a fourth in five years.

Since saving a match point against Naomi Osaka in the second round, Swiatek has dropped only eight games and won 20 on the spin in dispatching Marie Bouzkova (6-4 6-2), Anastasia Potapova (6-0 6-0) and Marketa Vondrousova (6-0 6-2).

“I feel like you just go crazy every point,” was Wimbledon champion Vondrousova’s honest assessment of their quarter-final.

But Gauff, now 20 and the reigning US Open champion, showed her mettle as she came from a set down to beat Ons Jabeur 4-6 6-2 6-3.

“I think her mental game is a little bit better,” said Swiatek. “Before it was, you know, kind of easier to ‘crack her’, I would say, when you were leading.

“But, I mean, it’s normal that she’s making progress. She’s at that age that everything goes pretty nicely, that if you’re working hard then you will get progress.

“She’s probably doing that, and probably every aspect of her game is a little bit better, because it’s different being a teenager on the tour and then being a more mature player.”

Gauff insists that despite Swiatek’s blistering form, the pressure will be on her nemesis.

“Potapova isn’t me. I’m not Vondrousova,” she said. “It doesn’t mean anything.

“Maybe I could lose with the same score, maybe not, but I’m going to go in and just try to win.

“I have nothing to lose, all the pressure is on her.”

The scheduling at Roland Garros has been a hot topic over the last few days, with Alexander Zverev finishing his match against Holger Rune at 1.40am, two days after Novak Djokovic’s 3.07am finish – the latest ever at the tournament.

Amazon Prime broadcasts the night session in France, which is scheduled to start at 8.15pm, but on Saturday and Monday they began much later due firstly to the rain and then to Djokovic being given a ‘not before 4pm’ slot after his early-hours exploits.

But a host of players have complained about the late nights, an issue now exacerbated by Djokovic’s withdrawal from the tournament through injury.

Jabeur was also unhappy about her early start against Gauff on a sparsely populated Court Philippe Chatrier.

“I have a lot to say on that topic,” said the Tunisian eighth seed. “I don’t expect any women to play in the evening, but frankly playing a quarter-final at 11am is really such a chore.

“We deserve to be here. Playing in the afternoon is better. There is going to be more people watching us and the stadiums are crowded. The VIP (area) is, well, you know, as usual.

“Playing that late for men after midnight is not a good thing. We saw yesterday how Novak was suffering with his knee – because he couldn’t really recover well?

“I think for all players, men, women, we deserve better than that. We deserve better scheduling.”

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