Gauff to face Swiatek in last eight after beating Schmiedlova

football05 June 2023 17:30| © Reuters

Last year's French Open runner-up Coco Gauff overcame an early wobble in windy conditions to outclass Slovakian Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 7-5 6-2 and make the quarterfinals where she will face holder Iga Swiatek in a rematch of the 2022 final.






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Poland's top seed Swiatek set up the blockbuster meeting when her ailing fourth-round opponent Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine retired while down 5-1 in the first set after she called the physiotherapist and had her blood pressure checked.



Gauff won her previous clash with Schmiedlova in Madrid last year, dropping only two games, and the American made a quick start again with a break in the opening game to pull away and leave her 100th-ranked opponent facing an uphill task.





But 28-year-old Schmiedlova, playing in the second week of a major for the first time, mounted a late fightback from 5-2 down in gusty conditions to draw level only to squander her chance and allow sixth seed Gauff to edge a tense first set.

"Today was honestly a difficult match, as every match is. But the wind was something that, I don't know, I wasn't really that prepared for it going in," Gauff said of conditions on Court Philippe Chatrier.

"The one side was gusting like really crazy. Usually, I like to play in the wind, to be honest, but it wasn't something I was prepared for. Overall I'm happy with how I played."

The 19-year-old tightened her grip in the second set, working the angles and deploying the drop shot to devastating effect as she closed out the win without any more drama.

Gauff is relishing a rematch with world No 1 Swiatek.

"Since last year, I've been wanting to play her especially at this tournament," the American said shortly before Swiatek went through after just 31 minutes.

"I figured it (a meeting) was going to happen, because I figured I was going to do well and she was going to do well ... if you want to be the best you have to beat the best.

"If you want to improve, you have to play the best. The way my career has gone so far, if I see a level and if I'm not quite there at that level, I know I have to improve. You don't really know what you have to improve on until you see that level."


Beatriz Haddad Maia became the first Brazilian woman in 55 years to reach the quarterfinals at a Grand Slam when she beat Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-7(3) 6-3 7-5.

Maria Bueno, who won seven singles titles at the slams, was the last Brazilian woman to reach the quarterfinals at a major in 1968, although Haddad Maia says she still cannot compare with the great "dancing tennis player".

"She's a person who inspired us for a lot of years. I think she's a very powerful woman," 14th seed Haddad Maia told a press conference after winning the longest women's match at this year's tournament.

"I have a picture with her in Wimbledon. That was a lucky day. Also, I met her a few times in Sao Paulo. Unfortunately, she passed away (in 2018) but we chatted a few times.

"I'm very proud to represent Brazil. But for sure I don't compare myself with her, because for me, she's on another level, like Guga (Kuerten)."

Haddad Maia was just a year old when Gustavo Kuerten won the first of his three Roland Garros titles in 1997 and he continues to inspire players like her.

"He's for sure one of the people who made a difference for tennis in Brazil. We have a good relationship. One of the things that he teaches everyone is to play with the heart," she added.

"He's an inspiration for me, but as Maria Esther Bueno, I don't compare myself with them, because for me, they are on another level."

The Brazilian recovered from a set and two breaks down to win the three hour and 51-minute epic against Sorribes Tormo.

"I think tennis is not 100-metres race, it's a marathon, especially my matches. The key was to fight today," she said.

"I had injuries. I had four surgeries also. So it's not easy to come back, but I think that's why I'm very strong when I play three, four hours. I'm very proud of myself because of that, as well.

"I'm very happy to be in a quarterfinal. It's a dream. I think since I start to play tennis, me, my family, and everybody from my team, I was dreaming and working very hard for this moment."

Haddad Maia will face Tunisian seventh seed Ons Jabeur in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.