Gauff, Stephens in all-American French Open showdown

30/5/2022 4:33:00 PM

Gauff, Stephens in all-American French Open showdown

Coco Gauff, Tennis

Gauff, Stephens in all-American French Open showdown

PARIS, May 30 — Teenager Coco Gauff will bid to reach her first Grand Slam semi-final tomorrow at the French Open when she takes on experienced compatriot Sloane Stephens in the...

Monday, 30 May 2022 8:33 PM MYTPARIS, May 30 — Teenager Coco Gauff will bid to reach her first Grand Slam semi-final tomorrow at the French Open when she takes on experienced compatriot Sloane Stephens in the last eight.The 18-year-old is playing in her second straight Roland Garros quarter-final after losing to eventual champion Barbora Krejcikova 12 months ago.

Five different US players have reached the women’s quarter-finals in the last five years, but there has not been an American champion since Serena Williams won her third title in 2015.World number one Iga Swiatek is the only top-10 seed left in the draw and is firm favourite for the title.

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Monday, 30 May 2022 8:33 PM MYT PARIS, May 30 — Teenager Coco Gauff will bid to reach her first Grand Slam semi-final tomorrow at the French Open when she takes on experienced compatriot Sloane Stephens in the last eight. The 18-year-old is playing in her second straight Roland Garros quarter-final after losing to eventual champion Barbora Krejcikova 12 months ago. Medvedev will play former US Open champion Marin Cilic or 37-year-old Frenchman Gilles Simon for a place in the last eight. Five different US players have reached the women’s quarter-finals in the last five years, but there has not been an American champion since Serena Williams won her third title in 2015. — AFP pic Advertisement. World number one Iga Swiatek is the only top-10 seed left in the draw and is firm favourite for the title. “It’s unusual on clay, even with Rafa (Nadal) that never happens,” joked Medvedev, who returned from hernia surgery the week before Roland Garros. But Gauff believes that “anybody can win”, using last year’s US Open — when qualifier Emma Raducanu beat fellow teenager Leylah Fernandez in the final — as an example. She next faces Chinese teenager Zheng Qinwen who made the last 16 on her debut when French veteran Alize Cornet, playing in her 61st consecutive Grand Slam, retired with a leg injury, trailing 6-0, 3-0 after just 44 minutes.

“I know that some of the higher seeds on my side definitely dropped out of the draw,” she said. “It was really hard, everyone was asking how I could be number two in the world without getting past the first round,” said the reigning US Open champion. “I’m thinking, especially if US Open taught us anything, anybody can win on any day. I think all players should really (be) going into the match thinking about that.” Gauff added: “I think really we just have to take a step back, especially in the Grand Slams, and not look at rankings anymore.” It will be Gauff’s second meeting with former US Open champion Stephens, after falling to a straight-sets defeat when they met in an all-American second-round clash at Flushing Meadows last year. Spain’s Badosa, who made the quarter-finals in 2021, retired from her last 32 match due to a calf injury when she was trailing Russia’s Veronika Kudermetova 6-3, 2-1.

“I think last time I played her I was super nervous going into the match,” she said. “Not because it was Sloane. Just because we were on (Arthur) Ashe (court) and it was an all-American match-up. I think a lot of people expected a lot from me in that match.” Stephens is hoping to reach the semi-finals of a major event for the first time since losing the 2018 French Open final to Simona Halep. Medvedev has not dropped a set in three rounds and will next play former US Open champion Marin Cilic who ended 37-year-old Gilles Simon’s 17-year-old Roland Garros career with a 6-0, 6-3, 6-2 win.

The 29-year-old has slipped from a career-high of world number three to 64th spot in the WTA rankings. But the clay-court tournament is the only Grand Slam where Stephens has made three quarter-finals. “Americans in Paris... Greek star Tsitsipas had to come back from two sets down to beat Lorenzo Musetti and then needed four hours and four sets to see off 134th-ranked qualifier Zdenek Kolar in his first two outings.

I think it’ll be a great match and I’m looking forward to it,” she said. Fernandez still an ‘underdog’ Fernandez is another teenager looking to reach the semi-finals as the 19-year-old faces Italy’s Martina Trevisan. The Canadian was unseeded when she reached the 2021 US Open final and became the youngest player to knock out three top-five seeds in a Slam since Serena Williams in 1999. Fernandez is now the third-highest seeded woman left in the draw, but insists she still considers herself an underdog. “Every time I step out on the court I still have something to prove,” she said. Ruud hit 39 winners and goes on to face Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz, a Wimbledon semi-finalist last year who is also in the last 16 in Paris for the first time.

“I still have that mindset I’m the underdog. I’m still young, I still have a lot to show to the people, to the public.” Trevisan is enjoying another dream run in Paris after also reaching the last eight in 2020 as a qualifier. “I thought to myself, ‘Yes, Martina, you can do (it) again’,” said Trevisan, who won her maiden WTA title in Rabat last week and is now on a nine-matching winning run. “I will like to live again this emotion.

I mean, I’m here, so I’m really happy.” — AFP Advertisement .