Impeccable Iga Swiatek dispatches Coco Gauff at the French Open

Swiatek is still ascending to be the new Rafael Nadal.
Iga Swiatek at the French Open
Iga Swiatek at the French Open / Robert Prange/GettyImages

There was little hope for Coco Gauff entering the semifinal of the French Open where she would face Iga Swiatek. Gauff is a skilled player who will likely continue to defeat most players on the WTA tour. But she is not as good as Swiatek, and she certainly isn't as good as Swiatek on the red clay of Paris. No one is.

Swiatek's otherworldly calm during matches always allows her to save her energy. She is a metronome with her pace and placement of shots, and she knows exactly what she needs to do on clay. In her career, she has only lost ten matches on clay. Ten.

Here head-to-head all-time against Gauff is completely one-side as well. Swiatek leads the rivalry, if one can call it that, 11-1. On a hard court, Gauff might have a chance. At Roland Garros, none. One wonders how Naomi Osaka almost defeated Swiatek earlier in the tournament; that would have been a miracle.

Iga Swiatek defeats Coco Gauff at the French Open

On Thursday, Swiatek was broken only once in her 6-2 6-4 victory. That came in the second set and was enough to give Gauff a lead of 3-1. But Swiatek broke right back, held serve, and then broke Gauff again to take a 5-3 lead. Her ruthless efficiency was astonishing to watch.

Swiatek does not win because of sheer power. It is her ability to drop a ball seemingly wherever and whenever she wants that always keeps players off-balance. Her serve is not overpowering, either, but the placement is too much for many. For instance, while Gauff was lacing serves in at about 120 MPH, 90 percent of the serves were returned by Swiatek. The Pole hit at lesser speed, but only 70 percent came back.

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There was a little bit of drama early in the second set. Gauff was returning serve when a line judge called Swiatek's serve out and Gauff halted her swing midway through. The chair umpire ruled the point in Swiatek's favor, though, as Gauff had played the point in the chair umpire's view. The call was wrong and the crowd booed, and Gauff appeared on the verge of tears. Gauff ended up winning the game, but it would be the next to last game she would win.

Iga Swiatek now moves on to her third-straight French Open final. She has won three titles at Roland Garros already and she will be heavily favored to win her fourth title when the final is held on Saturday. She is only 23 years old. She could conceivably match Rafael Nadal's French Open record of 14 titles by the time Swiatek is done playing professional tennis.

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