Iga Swiatek v Coco Gauff: French Open women’s singles semi-final – live | French Open 2024

Key events

Swiatek 3-1 Gauff*

Swiatek has lost only once on clay this season, having won back-to-back titles in Madrid and Rome before heading to the French Open, where she’s won the title the past two years and is on a 19-match winning streak.

Swiatek serves to Gauff’s forehand on the first point here – a smart tactic to target that side – but Swiatek then decides to mix it up, serving to Gauff’s backhand, and Gauff dismisses it for a winner. Best stick to the forehand, Iga. After sliding break point down, at 30-40, Swiatek does exactly that, Gauff gets it back but then makes a disappointing error. Deuce. Advantage Swiatek. Deuce, when Gauff’s power finally beats Swiatek’s supreme reactions at the net! Advantage Swiatek. Deuce, after a Gauff lob that just lands in! Gauff hits an ugly return that almost rockets into the stands it was so wild, and Swiatek holds.


Swiatek* 2-1 Gauff

That previous game encapsulated the problem that Gauff faces this afternoon: she worked so hard to get into a game-winning position, but Swiatek is such a formidable player on the big points and gives away so few errors. A strong serve at 15-0 gives Gauff a cheap point for 30-0. She needs plenty more of those this afternoon. 40-0, as Swiatek sprays a rare errant forehand wide. 40-15, as Swiatek steps into the forecourt and puts away the winner. Is there a better mover than her in the women’s game? I don’t think so. But Gauff holds to 15.


Swiatek 2-0 Gauff*

Naomi Osaka came within a point of beating Swiatek in the second round, but the difference between that match and this one is that Gauff doesn’t hit the ball quite as hard as Osaka.

Gauff does have plenty of punch on her backhand though, and drives one down the line for 15-all. A few more penetrating backhands from Gauff on the next point, she works the point well, coming into the net, but Swiatek’s ball dips dangerously into the clay and Gauff can’t get it back. 30-15. 40-15. Another backhand winner from Gauff, wow. 40-30. If only Gauff’s forehand was as good as her backhand she’d be unbeatable. Make that a third backhand winner. Deuce. Advantage Gauff, break-back point. But an untimely first backhand error from Gauff and they’re back at deuce … and from there Swiatek survives.


Swiatek breaks: Swiatek* 1-0 Gauff

Chris Evert is saying on the Eurosport commentary that she thinks the key for Gauff today is her serve. She’s hit twice as many double faults as aces this year, and given that Swiatek is the best returner on the tour, if not the best, Gauff needs to have a high first-serve percentage. Swiatek will keep puncturing holes in Gauff’s serve if it’s not aggressive enough.

To highlight this, Swiatek immediately sprints to 0-30 on Gauff’s serve. Gauff recovers to 15-30, and the point of the game then plays out, which Swiatek takes with a bruising backhand down the line. 15-40, two break points. And Gauff gets her drive volley all wrong and Swiatek strikes from the off!


Do get in touch with any thoughts: you can email katy.murrells.casual@theguardian.com


All 10 of Gauff’s defeats by Swiatek have been in straight sets, including the 2022 final at Roland Garros and in last year’s quarter-finals. What’s hard for the 20-year-old in this match-up is that for all of her strengths – her backhand, her athleticism, her mentality – she’s got an iffy forehand that Swiatek can target with her own forehand, which is so powerful and top-spin heavy.


And here come the players, headphones on, as they always are. Which is a shame because they probably don’t fully hear the loud reception they get from the crowd. But it’s good to see that the stands are nearly full. The Parisian patrons have been a bit tardy so far this fortnight, but they don’t want to be late for this one.


Gauff on the mental challenge of facing Swiatek:

I think you just get older and learn how to handle the pressures a little bit more. I don’t have a mental coach or anything like that sports-related, but it is something that I knew I had to improve and just be more positive … and realising that I can’t beat myself and also my opponent beating me.

She’s definitely a tough opponent for me and for anybody. I think for me I just have to go back and watch [previous matches] and try to find what I have to do.

I think she’s playing great tennis here, so it’s going to be a challenge, but I’m going to go into the match with a lot of belief that I can.


Swiatek on why she’s not taking Gauff lightly despite beating her in 10 of their 11 meetings:

I think her mental game is a little bit better, and before it was kind of easier to ‘crack her’, I would say, when you were leading.

But it’s normal that she’s making progress. She’s at that age that everything goes pretty nicely that if you’re working hard, then you will get progress.

Probably every aspect of her game is a little bit better, because, yeah, it’s different being a teenager on the tour and then being a more mature player.


One match has already been completed on Philippe Chatrier today, with Britain’s Neal Skupski and his American partner Desirae Krawczyk losing the mixed doubles final, 6-4, 7-5 to Laura Siegemund and Edouard Roger-Vasselin.

Elsewhere, another Briton, Alfie Hewett, has been knocked out in the men’s singles wheelchair semi-finals. The top seed was defeated 7-5, 6-7 (1), 6-2 by the Argentinian Gustavo Fernandez.


Another trip down memory lane:

On this day in 1999, Andre Agassi completed the Career Grand Slam!

🏆 Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon, US Open pic.twitter.com/z540j8ajAC

— US Open Tennis (@usopen) June 6, 2024


Or you’ve got nearly enough time to watch this. YouTube comes up short on the “Henin 2007 final” search, but here’s Seles beating Steffi Graf in the 1992 final:


Fancy some reading while we wait?


Order of play


3pm/2pm BST
(1) Iga Swiatek (Poland) v (3) Coco Gauff (US)
Not before 5pm/4pm BST
(12) Jasmine Paolini (Italy) v Mirra Andreeva (Russia)



Tennis, bloody hell. Only eight days ago Iga Swiatek was down and very nearly out against an inspired Naomi Osaka in the second round, coming from 5-2 behind in the final set and saving a match point to keep her bid for a third consecutive French Open title alive.

But instead of that narrow escape putting any doubt in the world No 1’s mind, it has had the opposite effect. She has treated her opponents with utter disdain since, conceding only eight games in three matches (half of those six sets have been won 6-0), and she made Marketa Vondrousova look like a world No 500 rather than a reigning Wimbledon champion in the 6-0, 6-2 quarter-final rout.

Yesterday’s results gave her even more momentum when her toughest rivals on tour, Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina, were bundled out in the other half of the draw. Swiatek knows that if she gets past Coco Gauff in their semi-final today – and the chances are that she will given this is a profitable match-up for her, having beaten the American in 10 of their 11 meetings – she’ll be the overwhelming favourite in Saturday’s final against Mirra Andreeva or Jasmine Paolini.

But making this all about Swiatek would do a disservice to Gauff – and Andreeva and Paolini. There has been so much to like about Gauff this tournament, especially the way she dealt with a resurgent Ons Jabeur in her gutsy three-set comeback win on Tuesday. Gauff – still only 20 – will be the new world No 2 next week, a reward for the supreme consistency she has achieved since winning the US Open last year. And Andreeva and Paolini deserve plenty of credit for the way they overcame their far more illustrious opponents yesterday; one of them will now reach their first slam final.

Swiatek knows this title is now hers for the taking, which would make her only the third woman to win three successive Roland Garros titles in the Open era after Monica Seles in 1990-92 and Justine Henin in 2005-07. But yesterday’s shockwaves are still reverberating around Roland Garros, and they serve as a reminder that nothing is guaranteed. And that, of course, is why we watch.

Play begins at: 2pm BST/3pm Paris time. Don’t be late!


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