WILL EVANS’ daily preview serves up French Open tips for the women’s final between dominant world No.1 Iga Swiatek and first-time finalist phenom Coco Gauff.
23:00 (AEST), Sun 5th Jun @ Stade de Roland Garros, Paris
History: Played 2: Swiatek 2 V Gauff 0
Last meeting: Miami Masters, 2022 (R16): Swiatek d Gauff 6-3 6-1
Final Thoughts: The Polish juggernaut that is Iga Swiatek has steamrolled its way into a second French Open final in three years. But 18-year-old Coco Gauff’s breakout grand slam run has created an intriguing Roland Garros decider.
World No.1 Swiatek is on a 34-match winning streak and is aiming to equal Venus Williams’ post-2000 record with a victory here. She started the tournament by dropping just two games each against Lesia Tsurenko and Alison Riske. Swiatek was slightly off against unheralded pair Danka Kovinic (6-3 7-5) and Qinwen Zheng, who she dropped the first set to before powering to a comfortable victory as Zheng struggled with cramps.
But the 2020 French Open champ was outstanding in the quarters, riding out brief periods of resistance from 11th seed Jessica Pegula to win 6-3 6-2. Swiatek was even more dominant in the semis against in-form Daria Kasatkina, crushing the 20th seed 6-2 6-1 and obliterating her serve with trademark rocket returns.
Gauff comes of age
Gauff, the 2018 Junior French Open winner, has been on track for a grand slam final since reaching the fourth round on Wimbledon debut as a 15-year-old in 2019. She made the quarters in Paris last year and has not lost a set – or dropped more than seven games – during this campaign.
It hasn’t been the most difficult draw for the American. But she has brushed aside Rebecca Marino, Alison Van Uytvanck, Kaia Kanepi, Elise Mertens (her only seeded opponent so far), grand slam champion Sloane Stephens and semi-final bolter Martina Trevisan was consummate ease.
Stephens shaped as a big quarter-final test but she passed it 7-5 6-2. Gauff then halted Trevisan hot run of form in devastating fashion, 6-3 6-1.
Swiatek leads the head-to-head 2-0. Gauff will attempt to take some confidence from putting up a respectable fight in her 7-6 6-3 semi-final loss to Swiatek in Rome last year. But it’s hard to forget Swiatek’s one-sided 6-3 6-1 Miami Open victory in March.
The red-line of Gauff’s serve and groundstrokes is capable of troubling the ruthless Swiatek. Whether she can do that consistently, or be aggressive enough throughout the final, is another matter.
Swiatek is performing on another plane and should be lifting the silverware in relatively short time.