Coco Gauff and defending champion Iga Swiatek will meet in the French Open semifinals

U.S.’ Coco Gauff plays a backhand against Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur in the women’s quarterfinal match at the French Open 2024 tennis championship, at Roland Garros in Paris on June 4, 2024.
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Coco Gauff and defending champion Iga Swiatek will meet in the French Open semifinals after victories on June 4.

No. 3 seed Gauff came back to defeat Ons Jabeur 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 to reach the semifinals at a third consecutive Grand Slam tournament. No. 1 Swiatek followed in Court Philippe Chatrier with a 6-0, 6-2 victory against Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova to stretch her Roland Garros winning streak to 19 matches as she seeks a third trophy in a row in Paris and fourth in five years.

Gauff won her first major title at the U.S. Open in September, then made it to the final four at the Australian Open in January. The 20-year-old American was the runner-up to Swiatek at the French Open in 2022.

Overall, Swiatek has won 10 of 11 meetings against Gauff, including a 6-4, 6-3 semifinal win on clay last month en route to the Italian Open title.

Other than a tough, tight three-set triumph over four-time major champion Naomi Osaka in the second round last week, Swiatek has been at her dominant best in this French Open, showing why she has led the WTA rankings nearly every week since April 2022 and is a popular pick to leave with another title.

Take away the 17 games Osaka managed, and Swiatek has dropped a total of only 11 games in her other four matches so far.

Swiatek followed up her 6-0, 6-0 shutout of Anastasia Potapova in the fourth round by grabbing the initial seven games against Vondrousova.

And make no mistake: Vondrousova is no slouch. In addition to being a Grand Slam champion, she was a finalist at Roland Garros in 2019, won a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics and is currently ranked No. 6.

But she never stood a chance against Swiatek, who compiled 25 winners to just 10 unforced errors. Swiatek, a 23-year-old from Poland, faced just one break point — and, naturally, she saved it.

Jabeur’s mix of speeds and spins gave Gauff fits at times. And as well-known as Gauff is for her ability to cover the court and play defense, Jabeur managed to keep coming up with winners, finishing with 30 in all.

“She was playing really well the whole match. She was hitting a lot of winners on me, which is something I’m not used to against anybody,” Gauff said. “So today I was just trying to just be aggressive toward the end.”

Gauff pulled away to a 5-2 lead in the last set, then needed a trio of match points to close things out, acknowledging afterward that maybe she grew a little tight down the stretch. The last game was key, with Gauff needing to save a break point, then Jabeur dismissing one match point with a disguised drop shot that earned a roar from the stands that the 29-year-old Tunisian responded to by putting her right index finger to her ear.

But on Gauff’s next opportunity to seal the victory, Jabeur badly flubbed an overhead. Gauff smiled, then raised her arms and yelled.

With the crowd at the main stadium loudly supporting Jabeur at times, Gauff did not play badly in the opening set. But No. 8 seed Jabeur — a three-time major finalist — was superb, winning 17 of 18 first-serve points, never facing a single break point and accumulating a 12-5 edge in total winners.

When she delivered an ace at 114 mph (184 kph) to end the set, Jabeur nodded repeatedly.

“She’s a tough opponent and she’s well-loved on tour. I could tell by the crowd today — I know you guys wanted her to win. Honestly, whenever she’s not playing (me), I cheer for her, too,” Gauff said.

“Even though you guys were for Ons, I really had a lot of fun, even when I lost the first set and they were chanting when I was in the bathroom,” Gauff said about her trip off the court after the first set. “I was like, ‘This is just really fun, win or lose.’ It is.”

Gauff got going after that, raising her level and trying to gain the upper hand during lengthier exchanges. She put in 16 winners over the last two sets, while breaking serve four times.

“I know I have a lot of love here in Paris. Trust me, I know,” said Gauff, who won the French Open junior title at age 14. “So I really appreciate it, and hopefully you guys can help me make it through the next round.”

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