Surging Garcia faces Jabeur in Open semis

·2-min read

France's Caroline Garcia is preparing to play her first grand slam semi-final at age 28 after beating 18-year-old Coco Gauff at the US Open.

The 17th-seeded Garcia had lost both of her two previous matches against the 12th-seeded Gauff, who was the runner-up at the French Open in June, but was by far the better player on in New York Tuesday night, winning their quarter-final 6-3 6-4.

Eleven years after Andy Murray predicted she would be world No.1 when she led Maria Sharapova at Roland Garros as a 17-year-old , Garcia is in the form of her life.

She will now face Wimbledon runner-up Ons Jabeur of Tunisia, who advanced to her first semi-final in New York with a 6-4 7-6 (7-4) victory over Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic.

Garcia hasn't ceded a set at Flushing Meadows this year and stretched her winning streak to 13 matches overall, including the hard court title in Cincinnati, which she won as a qualifier.

From early on, Garcia played high-stakes tennis and put strokes where she wanted, sometimes right at Gauff's feet, sometimes well out of reach.

"I just go for my shots," Garcia said, "even when I'm stressed."

She finished last year ranked 74th, but now is projected to rise into the top 10 next week.

Garcia reached her first grand slam quarter-final five years ago and in 2018 hit a high of fourth in the world rankings, but there had been significantly more downs than ups since.

She was ranked 75th in mid-June when she headed to the grass courts of Bad Homburg in Germany and went on to pick up her first title in three years.

Coached for most of her career by her father Louis, she has thrived under new coach Bertrand Perret

Jabeur is the first woman representing an African nation to get to the final four of the US Open during the professional era, which began in 1968.

"Just trying to do my job and, hopefully, I inspire more and more generations from Africa," Jabeur said. "It really means a lot to me."

She said her run to the title match at Wimbledon allowed her to "believe more in myself" and realise, "I had it in me that I can win a grand slam."

Jabeur has a well-earned reputation as Tunisia's "Minister of Happiness" but found her own good cheer tested as the unforced errors piled up in the second set against Tomljanovic and she threw her racquet several times.

"I think I'm going to be fired here from my job, Minister of Happiness," Jabeur joked later.

"Tennis is a tough sport and I apologise for my behaviour ... but the racket kept slipping away from my hand.

"It was kind of tough to kind of manage the frustration. She keeps fighting and she makes it tough for me."