Coco Gauff loses to reigning champion Iga Swiatek at the French Open

PARIS – Iga Swiatek eliminated Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4 in the semifinals of the French Open on Thursday and extended her winning streak at Roland Garros to 20 matches.

The top-ranked Swiatek is seeking her fourth championship in five years in Paris and could become the first woman with three in a row here since Justine Henin from 2007-09.

Swiatek improved to 11-1 overall against No. 3 seed Gauff, the reigning US Open champion, and has defeated her at the clay-court Grand Slam tournament three years in a row, including in the 2022 final and last year’s quarterfinals .

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 4-0 in major finals so far and has been at her dominant best over the past two weeks.

Aside from a three-set second-round win over four-time champion Naomi Osaka when she was forced to save a match point, Swiatek has conceded a total of just 17 in her remaining five matches.

Swiatek showed her usual powerful but clean basic strokes and needed just ten winners to progress on Thursday, partly because she made just fourteen unforced errors – while Gauff finished with 39.

Coco Gauff at the French Open in Paris on Thursday.Dan Istitene / Getty Images

It didn’t take long for Swiatek to assert herself on a sunny afternoon at Court Philippe Chatrier, where several spectators waved the red and white flags of her native Poland – and even received a warning from chair umpire Aurélie Tourte in the second set.

When Gauff missed the target early, she really missed it. One return was from her racket frame. Another flew 10 feet. The opening match ended with Gauff wildly hitting a swinging volley that also landed well outside, handing a break.

Swiatek went ahead with a double break at 4-1 when Gauff scored a backhand, then hit her thigh and smashed her racket into 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 like Gauff hasn’t had a chance to make more of this.

She faced a break point in each of Swiatek’s first two service games. But each time, Gauff failed to convert.

In the second set, an hour after the semi-final, Gauff finally broke and led 3-1. That came shortly after Gauff had a disagreement with Tourte over a ruling.

A Swiatek serve was called out just as Gauff missed her return attempt. Tourte awarded the point to Swiatek, saying the line judge’s decision had no effect on Gauff’s swing; Gauff argued that this was the case.

“It’s a Grand Slam semi-final, know the rules of the game,” Gauff told the referee.

The 20-year-old American finished there with a forehand winner down the line and she wagged her fingers to ask for louder support from the fans, and they gave it to her.

Could the momentum shift?

No. Swiatek responded immediately with a four-game run, and after that it was just a matter of closing down.

That wasn’t easy and that shouldn’t be a surprise against Gauff. But Swiatek completed the job on her fourth match point when Gauff missed a forehand, prompting chants of “Iga! I go!” from the stands.

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