Defending champion Iga Swiatek will play Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia in the French Open semi-finals after the top seed defeated Coco Gauff 6-4, 6-2 on Wednesday in a rematch of last year’s final. World number one Swiatek improved her record at Roland Garros to 26-2 after beating Gauff for the seventh time in as many meetings.
The 22-year-old from Poland is chasing a third French Open crown and attempting to become the first woman to successfully defend the title in Paris since Justine Henin in 2007.
After the pair exchanged breaks in the fourth and fifth games, Swiatek landed the key blow with another break as Gauff served to stay in the first set.
The American teenager, who won only four games in the 2022 final, made this a much closer contest but was left to rue three missed break point opportunities early in the second set.
Swiatek’s quality then shone through as she won the final four games to become the youngest woman since Martina Hingis to reach three or more semi-finals at Roland Garros. “It wasn’t easy, the first set was really tight. Coco was really using the conditions, so I was happy to be able to work on it and win this match,” said Swiatek, who has yet to drop a set at the tournament.
Haddad Maia Makes History
Beatriz Haddad Maia became the first Brazilian woman to reach a Grand Slam semi-final since 1968 on Wednesday when she came back from a set down to defeat Ons Jabeur at the French Open. World number 14 Haddad Maia came through 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-1 and will face top-ranked defending champion Iga Swiatek.
The 27-year-old left-hander follows in the footsteps of seven-time major winner Maria Bueno who was the last Brazilian woman in the semi-finals of a major at the US Open 55 years ago.
Bueno, who passed away in 2018, made the last four in Paris in 1966 before the advent of the Open era. “Ons is not easy to play against, you have to be patient but I believed in my body and tried to keep my rhythm,” said Haddad Maia.
Jabeur, the runner-up at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2022, was playing in her first quarter-final at Roland Garros.
The Tunisian hit 15 winners as she claimed an opening set which featured five breaks of serve in nine games. Haddad Maia had never got past the second round of a Grand Slam before this French Open.
She had saved a match point in the third round against Ekaterina Alexandrova and then defeated Sara Sorribes Tormo in a three-hour 51-minute marathon, the third longest women’s match ever played at the tournament.
She summoned all that fighting spirit in the second set against Jabeur, holding her nerve on a fourth set point. Haddad Maia then swept into a 3-0 lead in the decider, saved four break points to stretch to a 5-1 advantage and took the match after two and a half hours when Jabeur hit long.
“I had a day off after my fourth round match. My amazing team worked hard on my body,” said the Brazilian. “We work hard all year to be in these moments so I remembered this when we were in the middle of the second set.”
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