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Gauff, Stephens to play in all-American French Open QF; Pegula to face No. 1 Swiatek
An American woman is guaranteed to reach the semifinals of the French Open: Coco Gauff and Sloane Stephens will square off in Tuesday's quarterfinals after dominant fourth round wins in Paris on Sunday, where the pair combined to lose just six games against Elise Mertens and Jil Teichmann, respectively.
Gauff, seeded No.18, won the last eight games in a 6-4, 6-0 victory against No.31 seed Mertens to reach the French Open quarterfinals in back-to-back years. She was down a break twice in the first set, but broke Mertens back immediately each time and wrapped up the win in 82 minutes.
"I feel like every match I'm getting better. I think today even though I had some tough moments I was able to tough it out. I really do feel like I'm progressing with each match," she told reporters in victory, per the WTA.
"I definitely feel confident on the court. I feel like [clay] really suits my game. ... The previous tournaments this clay season, I had some good wins but it wasn't really any outstanding results. I feel like it gave me a lot to learn from, and I think I'm taking those tough matches that I lost this season and really learning from them and I guess showing that I'm doing better."
In a 6-2, 6-0 victory against Swiss No. 23 seed Teichmann, Stephens won 12 straight games. It was her second time accomplishing the feat in the tournament; in Round 2, she trailed No. 26 seed Sorana Cirstea 6-3, 2-0 and didn't lose another game. Stephens, the 2018 runner-up in Paris, has now reached the last eight at the clay-court Grand Slam tournament three times.
Gauff fell to the eventual winner, Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic, in the last eight 12 months ago. She's seeking her first-ever Grand Slam semifinal in singles, while Stephens has played in three.
The two compatriots played for the first time last summer in the second round of the US Open; in a similar scenario on Arthur Ashe Stadium, where Gauff was seeded and Stephens unseeded, the elder of the two Americans was a 6-4, 6-2 victor.
"I think last time I played her I was super nervous going into the match. Not because it was Sloane. Just because we were on Ashe and it was all-American matchup. I think a lot of people expected a lot from me in that match," Gauff said.
"Going in ... [I'm] just going to approach it like any other match. I have to go back and watch that match and see what I can learn from it."
Jessica Pegula, seeded No. 11, also reached her second major quarterfinal of the season after a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 comeback over unseeded Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu on Monday. She's the next foe for world No. 1 Iga Swiatek, who rallied from a set down to take out Chinese teenager Zheng Qinwen in 2 hours, 45 minutes—her 32nd consecutive victory this year.
Five American women in total reached the last 16, but both Amanda Anisimova and Madison Keys fell in pursuit of a second career quarterfinal in Paris; 2021 US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez of Canada, seeded No. 17, beat the 27th-seeded Anisimova, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, on Sunday, while No. 29 seed Veronika Kudermetova came from a set down to defeat No. 22 seed Keys on Monday, 1-6, 6-3, 6-1.
Americans are also still standing in all three doubles draws, including Gauff, Keys and Pegula in women's doubles. After beating No. 9 seed Asia Muhammad and Ena Shibahara on Sunday, Keys and Taylor Townsend are through to the quarterfinals, where they'll face unseeded Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk and Romania's Elena-Gabriela Ruse, who upset fourth-seeded Caty McNally and her Chinese partner Zhang Shuai in the last 16. Gauff and Pegula, seeded No. 8, look to join them when they face No. 10 seeds Sania Mirza of Indian and Czech Lucie Hradecka on Tuesday.
In men's doubles, an American is also assured of reaching the semifinals. Rajeev Ram, seeded No. 1 with Great Britain's Joe Salisbury, will face Austin Krajicek and Croatia's Ivan Dodig in the last eight. Nicole Melichar-Martinez, unseeded with Germany's Kevin Krawietz, reached the mixed doubles semifinals with a win on Monday, while fifth-seeded Desirae Krawczyk and Great Britain's Neal Skupski saw their title defense end at the hands of Norway's Ulrikke Eikeri and Belgium's Joran Vliegen in the quarterfinals. Those two teams will play for a spot in the final.
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