Coco Gauff reached her first Grand Slam semi-final at Roland Garros on Tuesday when she beat fellow American Sloane Stephens. Gauff, 18 and ranked 23rd in the world, triumphed 7-5, 6-2. She will face 59th-ranked Italian Martina Trevisan for a place in Saturday’s league game. Victory avenged her loss to Stephens at the US Open and helped erase the memory of her quarter-final loss last year to eventual champion Barbora Krejcikova in Paris.
“I feel so happy,” Gauff said. “Last year was a tough loss for me, but I believe this game made me stronger.
“The last time I played against Sloane I lost. Today was different. I stayed strong mentally because she’s the kind of player who can make shots that others can’t. TO DO.”
On Tuesday, Gauff broke in game two of the match to lead 3-0 before 2018 runner-up Stephens equalized with a break and hold for 5-5.
However, a clean and accurate strike saw Gauff dominate in game 12 to clinch the opener.
Stephens, playing in her first Grand Slam quarter-final in three years, and Gauff traded breaks early in the second set before the teenager pounced again for 3-1.
Gauff held 5-1, was broken 5-2 before Stephens dropped serve for the fourth time in the set to give her compatriot the win.
Gauff was junior champion at Roland Garros in 2018, then burst into public consciousness at just 15 years old, becoming the youngest woman to qualify for Wimbledon.
Her profile skyrocketed when she went all the way to the fourth round at the All England Club, knocking out Venus Williams along the way.
While in the French capital, Gauff graduated from high school, marking the occasion on Instagram with a family photo in front of the Eiffel Tower.
“Getting my degree meant a lot to me,” she said Tuesday.
“A lot of players think tennis is the most important thing and it’s not.”
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