Advertisement

Swiatek beats Gauff to set up Paris final with Paolini

Iga Swiatek has homed in on a third successive French Open title by cruising past American third seed Coco Gauff, setting up a showdown with Jasmine Paolini in the final after the Italian ended the adventures of teen Mirra Andreeva.

Four-time grand slam champion Swiatek's 6-2 6-4 semi-final win on Thursday was her 11th victory in 12 meetings with Gauff, but the 23-year-old Pole had to endure tough moments in the second set before matching her longest winning streak on clay.

"I was pretty intense and putting pressure on Coco," Swiatek said. "Most of the things overall in my game worked today, so I'm proud of myself."

Coco Gauff
It was a tough afternoon for Coco Gauff in the French Open, beaten in straight sets by Iga Swiatek. (AP PHOTO)

Paolini joined her in her first final by defeating Russian 17-year-old Andreeva 6-3 6-1 to continue Italy's golden Roland Garros, with Jannik Sinner, the new world No.1, also through to the men's semi-finals.

Gauff will rise to No.2 in the rankings behind Swiatek but the loss to the Pole, who also beat her in the 2022 final and last year's quarters, was a bitter pill to swallow for the 20-year-old.

"I think she's progressing a lot," Swiatek said of the US Open champion.

"Last year's US Open showed she's tough. At this age, it's obvious she's going to just grow. It's nice to see her handling everything well around her, because it's not easy.

"I'm sure we'll have plenty more intense matches at the highest level."

Swiatek broke in the opening game after a forehand error by the ultra aggressive Gauff and she fought off break points in her next two service games before tightening her grip.

Having dropped the first set, Gauff wiped away tears while leading 2-1 in the second after an argument with the umpire over a line decision, but the American recovered to break her opponent for the first time.

"I think it was just overwhelming," Gauff said.

"I'm losing the match. When you're playing against her... every point matters against anybody, but especially against her. I think it was just one of those moments, but I overcame it."

Swiatek struck back immediately before breaking to surge to a 4-3 lead with a powerful winner as a 20th straight victory at Roland Garros came into view for the 23-year-old.

Soaking up the applause on a sun-drenched Court Philippe-Chatrier, Swiatek secured victory on serve and matched her 18-match winning streak on the sport's slowest surface in 2022.

Swiatek, who saved a match point to beat former world number one Naomi Osaka in the second round, has lost only 14 games since and will be the favourite to triumph.

Paolini
Italy's Jasmine Paolini celebrates reaching her first grand slam final at Roland Garros. (AP PHOTO)

Paolini's belief has grown at Roland Garros and the 28-year-old became the first Italian to reach the final on Parisian clay since doubles partner Sara Errani in 2012.

She used her booming forehand to devastating effect and faces the ultimate challenge in Swiatek for a shot at her maiden Grand Slam title.

"Iga is an unbelievable player. So young, but so many achievements and grand slams," Paolini said.

"I have huge respect for her, but my goal is to step on court on Saturday and try to enjoy the match and that moment."

Andreeva, who beat Paolini in their last meeting in Madrid, failed to make the most of the few opportunities she had and was plagued by errors in her first Grand Slam semi-final.

"I was struggling throughout the match. It's just what happened today. I can take a lot of positives from these two weeks." Andreeva said.

"I think for the next few days I'll be a bit disappointed, but I'll be watching the final."