Swiatek sweeps aside teary Gauff to book final against Paolini

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Swiatek sweeps aside teary Gauff to book final against Paolini

Iga Swiatek will face Jasmine Paolini in the French Open final after a teary Coco Gauff and teenager Mirra Andreeva were swept aside in the semi-finals.

Gauff wiped away tears early in the second set of her 6-2 6-4 defeat to Swiatek after an argument with umpire Aurelie Tourte over a contentious line call decision.

With her straight-sets victory, Swiatek extends her stunning career record against Gauff to 11 wins in 12 contests – the only defeat coming at the Cincinnati Masters last year. The world No 1 has now ended the American’s run in Paris for three years running, including in the 2022 final and last year’s quarters.

Coco Gauff of the U.S. walks to the baseline during her semifinal match of the French Open tennis tournament against Poland's Iga Swiatek at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Thursday, June 6, 2024. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)

Image: An emotional Coco Gauff was defeated in straight sets by Iga Swiatek in their French Open semi-final

Gauff made 39 unforced errors in the match, which proved decisive, as the 20-year-old dropped the first set 6-2 before briefly rallying in the second.

In the fourth game of the second set, Gauff returned a serve long just as it was called out, but Tourte overruled the decision and awarded the point to Swiatek.

An emotional Gauff was heard on court telling the umpire: “You’re wrong… you should be ashamed. It’s a Grand Slam semi-final, know the rules of the game.”

Despite recovering to earn a first break of serve, Gauff then lost the next four games in a row.

The US Open champion staved off two match points as she stopped the rot to hold serve, forcing Swiatek to serve it out, but the two-time defending champion would do exactly that, clinching victory on her fourth match point to book her place in a third-straight French Open final.

The 23-year-old Pole is eyeing a fifth Grand Slam title, a fourth win in five years in Paris and is hoping to become the first woman to triumph three times in a row at Roland Garros since Justine Henin from 2007-09.

Seventeen-year-old Andreeva swept aside by Paolini

Russia's Mirra Andreeva reacts during her semifinal match of the French Open tennis tournament against Italy's Jasmine Paolini at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Thursday, June 6, 2024. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)

Image: Mirra Andreeva won only four games as the 17-year-old was swept aside in her semi-final

In the second semi-final, 17-year-old rising star Andreeva suffered a crushing 6-3 6-1 defeat to 12th seed Jasmine Paolini, who is through to a first Grand Slam final.

Andreeva, the youngest slam semi-finalist since Martina Hingis at the US Open in 1997, failed to make the most of the few opportunities she had in the match, racking up too many unforced errors.

She had won her previous match against Paolini in Madrid in April, but the Italian used her booming forehand to devastating effect to wrap up a convincing victory on Court Philippe Chatrier.

The 28-year-old is the first Italian player to reach the final on the Paris clay since doubles partner Sara Errani in 2012, and her resounding victory came two days after compatriot Jannik Sinner made it to the last four in the men’s draw, guaranteeing he would be world No 1 next week.

Italy's Jasmine Paolini celebrates as she won the quarterfinal match of the French Open tennis tournament against Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Wednesday, June 5, 2024. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Image: Italy’s Jasmine Paolini is through to a first Grand Slam final at Roland Garros

“It was a tough match,” Paolini said afterwards. “She’s playing unbelievable – just 17 and so complete, so I was a little bit nervous before the match.

“I lost to her one month ago so I was like ‘come on, you have to do better’. I was nervous in the first set but ball after ball I was getting relaxed.

“To dream is the most important thing in sport and in life, so I’m happy I could dream in this moment.”

Paolini is the complete package on the clay-court

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Three-time French Open champion Mats Wilander on Eurosport

“Paolini’s forehand is absolutely brilliant and she takes the backhand early, hits it flat, so there are two different shots coming from her racket. Heavy top-spin forehand and flat backhand – very difficult to play against.

“There is such a big difference here to playing any ground in the tournament in Madrid or in Rome.

“She’s a complete package on the clay-court, but the only thing she doesn’t have is the free serve. But nor does Iga Swiatek so it’s an interesting match-up we have in front of us.”

‘Andreeva is going to be a top player’

“Tough one for her,” said Wilander. “When you’re that young at 17 you’re hoping for so much but you haven’t been there yet so you don’t know what the experience is going to be like and you don’t know what the consequences are going to be like.

“I think a few tears is a good thing. It just means she cares and I am convinced with the help of Conchita Martinez that Andreeva is going to be a top player in the next three, four, five years.”

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