By Shrivathsa Sridhar
PARIS (Reuters) -Holder Iga Swiatek was tested by American sixth seed Coco Gauff in a rematch of their 2022 French Open title clash but the world number one showed her class to secure a 6-4 6-2 victory and reach the semi-finals on Wednesday.
The top seed will take on Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia in the last four as she continues her bid for a third crown in four years at Roland Garros and her fourth Grand Slam title overall.
“It was not easy,” said Swiatek, the first player since Conchita Martinez in 1995 to drop 15 games or fewer en route to the semi-finals in Paris.
“Especially the first set. It was tight and Coco was using the conditions well, so I was happy that I was able to win. The quarter-finals are sometimes the toughest matches.
“Today was a tighter match. I’ll be ready for the next one.”
Swiatek has adopted a more ruthless approach to her title defence dishing out four bagels in as many rounds but the Pole found the going tougher against a determined Gauff in the see-sawing opening set on Court Philippe Chatrier.
After drawing first blood, she allowed the aggressive Gauff to hit back and level up at 3-3 by crashing a volley into the net before getting back on track to take the advantage in the clash with a superb crosscourt winner.
The 22-year-old pumped her fist and let out a big scream after that decisive point.
Swiatek took a tumble at the net after nearly being struck by a Gauff rocket before producing a tight hold for a 2-1 lead in the next set and dusted herself off to grab another break with a perfectly placed lob.
She sealed her seventh victory over Gauff in as many matches by pouncing on her serve again and finished it off on her first matchpoint when the 19-year-old found the net.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in ParisEditing by Christian Radnedge)
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