Iga Swiatek beats Coco Gauff to reach French Open semifinals


PARIS (AP) — Top-ranked Iga Swiatek kept her French Open title defense on track with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Coco Gauff to reach the semifinals on Wednesday.

In a rematch of last year’s final, Swiatek recorded another straight-set victory over the American and will next face Beatriz Haddad Maia on Thursday as she chases her third trophy at the clay-court major.

The 19-year-old Gauff fell to 0-7 against Swiatek, and the Floridian has yet to take a set against her. Swiatek, a 22-year-old Pole, won 6-1, 6-3 in last year’s final.

“Quarterfinals are sometimes the toughest matches,” Swiatek said on Court Philippe Chatrier after her win. “Even though she’s young, she’s experienced. I’m pretty happy to be in the semifinal.”

Earlier on Chatrier, Haddad Maia scored another comeback win, upsetting Ons Jabeur 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-1 to become the first Brazilian woman since 1968 to reach a Grand Slam semifinal.

The 14th-seeded Haddad Maia, who served a 10-month suspension for failing a doping test in 2019, shook off a slow start against the seventh-seeded Jabeur.

After playing nearly four hours to beat Sara Sorribes Tormo in the fourth round, Haddad Maia won only one of her service games in the first set. But she saved the only two break points she faced in the second set — both in the 11th game to go up 6-5 — and won the tiebreaker.

The 27-year-old Brazilian started the deciding set with a double break and a 3-0 lead. A frustrated Jabeur flipped her racket in the air after sending an easy backhand wide on a break-point opportunity while down 4-1. Haddad Maia won the game and served out the match, putting her hand on her cap almost in disbelief after Jabeur sailed a forehand long on the second match point.

“I had to be patient. She’s one of the best players in the world,” Haddad Maia said on court. “Not easy to play against her. She’s tricky sometimes.”

Jabeur, a Tunisian who was the runner-up at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open last year, used drop shots effectively early in the match but in the end had more unforced errors (42) than winners (38).

“I always believed that the match (would be) long,” Haddad Maia said. “That was the key. I was trying to keep my game.”

Haddad Maia is the first Brazilian woman to reach the semifinals at Roland Garros in the Open era. Maria Bueno reached the last four at the 1966 French Open and made the 1968 U.S. Open semifinals.

Haddad Maia’s fourth-round win over Sorribes Tormo, 6-7 (3), 6-3, 7-5, was the longest WTA match of the year — clocking in a 3 hours, 51 minutes.

After failing her doping test in 2019, the Brazilian player had argued that she had merely been taking supplements. The International Tennis Federation accepted Haddad Maia’s explanation and said she “bore no significant fault or negligence for her violation,” but that a suspension was nonetheless mandatory.

Jabeur, whose preparations for the tournament were slowed by a calf injury, said she “wasn’t expecting to be in the quarterfinals, especially this is kind of my first tournament after being injured.”

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