French Open: Defending champ Swiatek ousts Gauff to book semifinal spot

Paris, Jun 7 (IANS): Defending champion and World No.1 Iga Swiatek defeated American teen sensation Coco Gauff 6-4, 6-2 in straight sets to sail into the semifinal of the French Open, here on Wednesday.

"Step by step, another SF, thank you Paris," wrote Swiatek on the camera lens following her victory.

In a rematch of the last year's French Open final, Swiatek maintained her undefeated record against Coco Gauff as she improved her head-to-head against the American to 7-0 with her 1-hour and 28-minute victory on Court Philippe Chatrier.

The 22-year-old Pole has now won her last 12 matches on the clay courts of Paris. Her career win-loss record at Roland Garros improved to 26-2 with her latest win over American teenager Gauff.

She also became the first woman to win 12 consecutive main-draw matches at Roland Garros since Serena Williams won 13 straight between 2015 and 2016.

Swiatek opened up a 3-1 lead but Gauff pegged her back. But, a break to love in game 10 has given Swiatek a 6-4 advantage on Gauff after 51 minutes of play.

In the second set, Swiatek prevented Gauff from taking an early lead by fending off three break points during a gritty hold for 2-1. Swiatek cracked the set open when she broke for 4-2, and the Pole held on from there to claim another triumph over Gauff.

In the semifinals, she will face No.14 seed Beatriz Haddad Maia, who overcame No.7 seed Ons Jabeur earlier, becoming the first Brazilian woman to reach the Roland-Garros semi-finals in the Open Era --Maria Bueno reached semis here in 1966 -- and the first to reach a Grand Slam semifinal since Bueno in 1968 (US Open).

Swiatek still has a chance to keep the World No.1 ranking coming out of Paris, despite defending 2000 ranking points and No.2 Aryna Sabalenka hot on her heels.

Since Sabalenka has reached the semifinals, Swiatek needs to beat Haddad Maia and reach the final to have a chance of staying at No.1. If Sabalenka reaches the final, Swiatek could hold on to No.1 only by winning the title.



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Title: French Open: Defending champ Swiatek ousts Gauff to book semifinal spot

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