Coco Gauff beats Ons Jabeur to reach French Open semi-finals


Coco Gauff booked her place in the last four of the French Open for the second time after recovering from a set down to beat former Wimbledon finalist Ons Jabeur.

After a set and a half of what was undoubtedly her ugliest tennis of the tournament, the world No 3 steadied herself just enough to survive Jabeur, a three-time Grand Slam finalist and a beguiling opponent when she is on.

Gauff prevailed 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, taking control of the match midway through the second set as Jabeur’s array of spin, power and drop shots that shook Gauff early, clipping her legs and her fight, started to miss their targets. Gauff sprinted through the opening, raising her game and letting Jabeur to beat herself.

In the final game, she earned two match points from two terrible Jabeur service returns into the bottom half of the net and won the final one when Jabeur smashed an overhead off the court.

Cool all tournament, Gauff pumped her arms over and over following the conclusion to the match, a show of emotion she has yet to let out at Roland Garros this year.

“I could tell from the crowd, you guys wanted her to win,” Gauff said when it was over. “When I’m not playing I cheer for her, too.”

She said she got tight on match points, but hung in there and survived.

The win sets up a possible semifinal showdown for Gauff with Iga Swiatek, the world No 1, three-time French Open champion and a clay savant who is a heavy favorite in Paris.

For Gauff, the third seed and the reigning U.S. Open champion, the quarter-final win backs puts her performance at the Australian Open. She has now made the final four of the last three Grand Slams and become one of the biggest sports celebrities in tennis and in the U.S.

She was a finalist at the French Open two years ago and is one of the world’s top players on clay, a surface she grew comfortable with during her pre-teen and teenage years when she spent significant periods at Patrick Mouratoglous’s academy in the south of France.

Gauff enters every French Open knowing that Swiatek, the three-time champion, is the favorite but also thinking, justifiably or not, that she should have as good a chance against her as anyone. Swiatek, plays Marketa Vondrousova, the reigning Wimbledon champion, later on Tuesday.

GO DEEPER

Why Coco Gauff is so tough to face – told by those who have

(Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)



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