Roland Garros Daily Preview: Iga Swiatek Plays Coco Gauff in the Women’s Semifinals - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

Focus

Roland Garros Daily Preview: Iga Swiatek Plays Coco Gauff in the Women’s Semifinals

Published

on

Coco Gauff on Tuesday in Paris (twitter.com/rolandgarros)

The women’s singles semifinals are on Thursday in Paris, as are the men’s doubles semifinals, and the championship match in mixed doubles.

In a rematch of the 2022 championship match in women’s singles, three-time champion Iga Swiatek faces reigning US Open champ Coco Gauff in the semifinals.  Swiatek has dominated this rivalry to date.  Can Gauff challenge Swiatek on Thursday?

And in a shocking turn of events, the other women’s singles semifinal does not feature Aryna Sabalenka or Elena Rybakina.  The players that upset them on Wednesday, Mirra Andreeva and Jasmine Paolini, square off against each other on Thursday, with the winner reaching their first Major final.


Iga Swiatek (1) vs. Coco Gauff (4) – Not Before 3:00pm on Court Philippe-Chatrier

They have played 11 times across the last three years, and Swiatek has taken 10 of those 11 matches, with all 10 wins coming in straight sets.  Gauff’s sole victory came last summer on a fast-playing hard court in the American’s home country.  In their four meetings on clay, Iga has taken all eights sets, by scores of 7-6(3), 6-3, 6-1, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2, 6-4, 6-3.  This is the third consecutive year they’re meeting at Roland Garros, after playing in the final two years ago, and the quarterfinals in 2023.

Swiatek is a superb 43-4 on the year, and 19-1 on clay, with her only loss on this surface taking place indoors against Elena Rybakina in Stuttgart.  Just three weeks ago in Rome, Iga defeated Coco in the semifinals of Rome.  Swiatek has dropped only one set to this stage, against Naomi Osaka in their thrilling second round contest.

Gauff has also lost just one set, to Ons Jabeur in Tuesday’s quarterfinals.  Coco is 30-8 this season, and 12-3 on clay.  However, she has not advanced to the final of any tournament since the very first week of the year in Auckland.

Much like Jabeur had to play high-risk tennis to challenge Gauff in the last round, Coco will have to do the same against Iga on Thursday.  But as we saw on Tuesday with Jabeur, sustaining a high level of high-risk tennis across two sets is a tall order.  Swiatek does not have any notable weaknesses on this surface, and based on her history against Gauff, Iga is a considerable favorite to achieve her fourth championship match in Paris. 


Jasmine Paolini (12) Mirra Andreeva – Last on Court Philippe-Chatrier

Paolini and Andreeva both played quite well in their Major quarterfinal debuts on Wednesday, and took full advantage of both Rybakina and Sabalenka lacking their best tennis.  The composure of Jasmine and Mirra in the biggest matches of their careers to date, and against such imposing opposition, was most impressive.  But which is ready to win the biggest match of their careers again just a day later?

Prior to 2024, Paolini had never advanced beyond the second round of a Major.  But she broke through in Melbourne, reaching the second week, and followed that up with a surprising WTA 1000 title in Dubai.  And now, the 28-year-old Italian is a Major semifinalist, thanks to winning back-to-back-to-back three-setters in the last three rounds.  Facing one of the WTA’s best servers on Wednesday, she broke Rybakina seven times.

17-year-old Andreeva is the youngest Major semifinalist since Martina Hingis in 1997.  This is just her fifth appearance at a Major, and she’s now 14-4 at this level.  Mirra dropped two sets to this stage, and came from a set down against Sabalenka on Wednesday.  As highlighted by Christopher Clarey on Twitter, Andreeva is already in the WTA top 8 in regards to return points won as well as return games won.

Their only prior encounter took place just a month ago in Madrid, which saw Andreeva prevail after two tight sets.  On such a big stage, which is so new to both players, I like the aggressive-minded teenager to defeat Paolini again on Thursday.  Her return game is a bit more imposing than Jasmine’s, and Mirra’s groundstrokes are a bit more penetrating.


Other Notable Matches on Thursday:

Desirae Krawczyk and Neal Skupski (4) vs. Laura Siegemund and Edouard Roger-Vasselin (2) – This is the mixed doubles championship match.  Krawczyk and Skupski have won two Major titles as a team, and were finalists at this year’s Australian Open.  Siegemund won the 2016 US Open mixed doubles title with a different partner (Mate Pavic), while Roger-Vasselin is playing for his first mixed doubles glory at a Major, and at his home Slam.

Simone Bolelli and Andrea Vavassori (11) vs. Rohan Bopanna and Matthew Ebden (2) – This semifinal is a rematch of the championship match from the last Major, when Bopanna and Ebden defeated Bolelli and Vavassori in two tight sets. 

Petros Tsitsipas and Stefanos Tsitsipas vs. Marcelo Arevalo and Mate Pavic (9) – Prior to this fortnight, the Tsitsipas brothers had never advanced beyond the second round of a Major as a team, but they upset the defending champions on the way to this semifinal.  But Arevalo and Pavic are the winningest men’s doubles team of the past month, having taken 11 of their last 12 matches.


Thursday’s full Order of Play is here.

Focus

Novak Djokovic Starts Rehab Ahead Of Ambitious Wimbledon Return

Novak Djokovic could make an ambitious return to Wimbledon.

Published

on

(ubitennis/Francesca Micheli)

Novak Djokovic has started his rehab after having surgery on a meniscus injury he suffered at Roland Garros.

The Serb suffered the injury during his fourth round clash with Francisco Cerundolo where Djokovic came back from two sets to one down to claim victory.

However Djokovic played no further part at Roland Garros as he suffered a bad meniscus injury and had to withdraw from the tournament.

It resulted in Djokovic having to have surgery the following day in Paris as he gave up his world number one ranking to Jannik Sinner.

Now the road to recovery starts for Djokovic as he posted on Instagram the start of his rehabilitation programme.

Usually the programme takes three weeks to six months to recover from but Djokovic’s injury wasn’t as bad as first reported.

It remains to be seen as to whether Djokovic will make his return at Wimbledon or whether he will wait until the Olympic Games to make his return.

Last year Djokovic reached the final at Wimbledon before losing to Carlos Alcaraz in a five set epic.

However it would be no surprise to see Djokovic withdraw as the one thing the Serb is yet to achieve is to win Olympic Gold.

A fully healed Djokovic could be tough to stop in Paris as he looks to achieve a lifetime goal.

Wimbledon starts on the 1st of July while the Olympics starts on the 27th of July.

Continue Reading

Focus

Determined Andreescu Ready To Maintain Consistency After Defeating Osaka

Bianca Andreescu is back to her best after defeating Naomi Osaka in s-Hertogenbosch.

Published

on

(@TheTennisLetter - Twitter)

Bianca Andreescu is ready to maintain consistency as her form continues to improve with her latest victory coming against Naomi Osaka in S-Hertogenbosch.

In a battle of the former US Open champions, Andreescu defeated Osaka 6-4 3-6 7-6(3) to move into the semi-finals.

The Canadian is only playing her second tournament this year after her run to the third round at Roland Garros, losing to eventual finalist Jasmine Paolini.

However that hasn’t stopped Andreescu from producing incredible performances as has gone back to the variety that earned her the US Open title five years ago.

Speaking about the match Andreescu praised her consistency on return as she admitted that she really wanted to the victory, “So the key for. me was to stay as consistent as possible,” Andreescu told the WTA website.

“My return today, the goal was to just bunt it back and then take control of the second serve. At 5-2, I might have let up a little bit on my serve. I was saying to myself ‘Go for it’ but the other side of myself said ‘Calm down’. So I got a bit conflicted with that.

“But really could have gone either way. It was two points difference maybe, in the whole match. I never give up. I ran a lot today. More than her for sure. I really wanted it. I really wanted it today and I think that made the big difference.”

Since that US Open title win five years ago, Andreescu has failed to live up to her potential as she has gained the reputation of being one of the most injury prone players on the tour.

Now the Canadian is aiming to find some consistent playing time as she aims to rebuild her ranking.

Speaking ahead of the semi-finals in Holland, Andreescu is not getting to far ahead of herself, “These are the reason we play this sport,” Andreescu commented after beating former world number one Osaka.

“Winning against players like this, at least for me, it really shows me where my level is at. I don’t want to get too ahead of myself because every day is different. I just want to take it in and use it to my advantage.”

Next for Andreescu will be Dalma Galfi in the semi-finals as she plays her first WTA semi-final since January 2023.

Continue Reading

Focus

Jack Draper Stuns Tiafoe in Stuttgart; Becomes New British Number One

The Brit serves up astonishing 31 aces in just 17 service games

Published

on

(@the_LTA - Twitter)

Britain’s Jack Draper was pushed all the way before beating defending champion Frances Tiafoe in a third set tie-breaker to reach the semi-finals of the Boss Open in Stuttgart today – a result which also makes him the new British number one.

Draper’s biggest wins of his career came when he defeated world number five Stefanos Tsitsipas in Montreal last year as a qualifier, and also beating Felix Auger-Aliassime in reaching the US Open third round. However, today’s victory over Tiafoe confirms his ascent to the top spot in the British rankings, something which is extremely proud of.

“It’s an incredible privilege, an honour to be in that position,” he said afterwards. “I’ve been so lucky to have guys like Andy Murray, Cam Norrie and Dan Evans ahead of me all these years and they’re still in the mix pushing me, so it’s a real honour, a big milestone.”

Games went with serve in the opening set until Tiafoe broke when the scores were even at five games all. Tiafoe, whose three ATP titles have come on all three surfaces, survived a break back point in the next game to take the set with 15 winners and an impressive 71% of first serves in. The payers stopped briefly for a rain delay at the start of the second set.

“It was difficult, it wasn’t easy after the first set, I thought Frances played a really good game, just the one break.” Said Draper. “Going off, I was very frustrated, but then I came back really strong, I knew I had my opportunities and I knew I would have some more. I’m really happy with the way I served and competed and how brave I was at the end.”

As the second set continued, Draper missed two breakpoints when 4-3 ahead including a huge chance when he pushed his opponent out wide and approached the net – but put too much on his drop volley which Tiafoe punished. Draper had been serving unbelievably throughout the set with 11 aces overall, and blitzed through another love service game to go 5-4 up and apply some scoreboard pressure.

In the next game he hit a strong forehand up the line to win the crucial first point and then chased down a drop shot to hit another flashy winner to go 0-30 ahead. Tiafoe won the next point but then double faulted to give Draper set points – and he converted with yet another superb forehand up the line to level the contest at a set all.

Both players held serve easily at the start of the third but then tested each other out as the set progressed. Tiafoe fought through a deuce game and got to 30 all on Draper’s serve but the Brit averted the danger. Draper missed a match point when 5-4 up with a missed return but entered the tie-break in good shape – his first serve was almost unplayable winning over 85% when in.

“I’m incredibly happy with the win. I’ve lost all my last three third set tie-breakers so to come through today was really amazing, I’m really proud of my effort. I’m really happy with the way I served and the way I played; it was a really high-quality match. Frances was serving very well himself so to serve the way I did; it was a really big positive for me.”

Draper now goes on to face another American Brandon Nakashima who progressed after Jan-Lennard Struff withdrew with sickness. Speaking about his next opponent who was born in the same year as Draper, he said: “He’s someone who is an incredibly good young player, a really exciting talent, I think he had a lot of injuries last year like myself but he’s been rising this year and playing a lot of matches. Like everyone here, they’re all amazing players and it will be a tough battle.”

After the match, Draper spoke to Sky Sports and elaborated further about the positive influence of the other British top five, and about the Euro 2024 tournament beginning this evening.

“Those guys have all inspired me to be better. Obviously, Andy is a two-time Wimbledon and Olympic champion and has achieved so much in the game. For me he’s one of the greatest players. I’ve learned so much from those guys, the professionalism, the discipline and they’ve always been really good for me, just as a young player looking up to them and copying what they do so I’m very grateful for that.”

“[In the football]: Hopefully England can do one better than three years ago because we did well to get to the final. We have an incredibly strong team. It’s going to be a lot of tough matches but hopefully they can pull through.

On the other side of the draw, former champion Matteo Berrettini faced qualifier James Duckworth.  The Australian, who reached the third round of Wimbledon in 2021, could only manage 64% of first serve points won and committed 16 unforced errors while also facing eight breakpoints. A single break of serve in both sets was enough for the Italian to move forward into the semis, as he won 6-4, 7-5 with another strong serving display.

“It was a really solid match, especially on my serve, I didn’t give him any breakpoints,” said Berrettini afterwards. “I felt like the rhythm on the serve was really good, on grass it’s really important and in the right moments I stepped in and was more aggressive. It’s really important to put a lot of returns in and that’s what I tried to do and it worked out, and so I’m happy for that.

When asked why he was so hard to beat on the faster surface he replied, “you should ask my opponents that! I think obviously for my weapons, my serve, it pays off on grass to play aggressively and that’s what I like to do. I’m using the slice as well on the backhand side and it’s important to play good in the important moments and being able to put pressure on your opponent when you’re serving is really important, and I think that’s the key. And when I step on grass, I feel like I want to play for hours and hours so here I am”

The 28-year-old is a big football fan, and was also asked about whether he would watch the opening match of the tournament. “Germany is playing tonight so I will watch tomorrow’s match. I love Germany but to supporting Germany is a little bit too much! Tomorrow is the start [for Italy] so good luck to the guys. Three years ago, we had really good memories during this time, so let’s see!”

Following Struff’s earlier withdrawal against Nakashima, it meant there was only one other quarter final today where Lorenzo Musetti progressed despite dropping the first set 4-6 to Hungarian Alexander Bublik. The Italian raced through the second set 6-1, and when he broke serve to go 1-0 ahead in the decider, Bublik retired.

Continue Reading

Trending