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Pro Media & News

Gauff sweeps Stephens in French Open QF; Keys and Townsend into doubles SFs

Dan Levinsohn | May 31, 2022


Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

American Coco Gauff scored twice on Tuesday at the French Open with a quarterfinal victory against compatriot Sloane Stephens in singles, and—alongside fellow singles quarterfinalist Jessica Pegula—another win in women's doubles to continue her fine fortnight in Paris. 

 

Atlanta’s No. 18 seed Gauff advanced to her first major semifinal on Tuesday afternoon by defeating 2017 US Open winner Stephens 7-5, 6-2 in an all-American French Open quarterfinal. 

 

With her victory, the 18-year-old Gauff became the youngest women’s semifinalist at any major since New Jersey’s Amanda Anisimova advanced to this tournament’s final four in 2019, when she was 17. 

 

“I just told myself, ‘Just focus on the moment and the point in front of you,’” Gauff said in her post-match interview. 

Reflecting on a more relaxed attitude, she continued: “I’m just enjoying life. Before, I would just be so hyper-focused, I wouldn’t even walk around in the city cause I thought it had to be tennis, tennis, tennis … But the matches that I’ll play later, I’ll go walk around the city and go for a bike ride.” 

 

Gauff seemed confident against a resurgent Stephens, the 29-year-old who had previously advanced to the French Open final in 2018 and the tournament’s quarterfinals the following year. The teenager established big leads in both sets, forcing her former world No. 3 opponent to play catch up. Though Stephens rallied from 5-2 down to even the score at 5-5 in the opener, Gauff won the next seven points – and the set.

 

She also gained a comfortable advantage in the second, stumbling only towards the very end when Stephens broke serve for the first time. Still, Gauff—who won the junior French Open title in 2018, when she was just 14 years old—closed out the match in 90 minutes. She has yet to drop a set this tournament.

 

Next, Gauff faces Italy’s unseeded 28-year-old Martina Trevisan, currently ranked world No. 59 and unbeaten in her last 10 matches. Trevisan was a quarterfinalist at this tournament in 2020, where she beat Gauff in the second round, and won her first-ever title earlier this month at a clay-court WTA 250 event in Morocco.

 

While no American men remain in the singles competition, the U.S. still has one more women’s singles contender in No. 11 seed Pegula. Pegula will face Poland’s top-seeded Iga Swiatek in a quarterfinal Wednesday. Swiatek, the current world No. 1, is on a 32-match winning streak dating back to February. 

While Madison Keys’ deep singles run at the major ended Monday with a fourth-round loss to Veronika Kudermetova, the 2017 US Open finalist and her American compatriot Taylor Townsend won a tight women’s doubles quarterfinal on Tuesday against the duo of Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk and Romania’s Elena-Gabriela Ruse, 7-6(5), 2-6, 7-5.

 

Townsend is playing her first Grand Slam event since the birth of her son, Adyn Aubrey, last year; it's just her fourth event of any kind, having returned to tennis in April. Townsend previously reached the doubles semifinals at the 2020 US Open alongside Asia Muhammad, the last event she played before her maternity leave.

 

Later Tuesday afternoon, Gauff returned to the court with countrywoman Pegula for a their third-round doubles match in the same portion of the draw. The eighth-seeded pair downed the Czech Republic's Lucie Hradecka and India's Sania Mirza 6-4, 6-3; should they beat Hungary's Anna Bondar and Belgium's Greet Minnen in the quarterfinals, they'll face Keys and Townsend in an all-American semifinal. 

 

In men’s doubles, an all-American epic assured the U.S. of a semifinalist; the top-seeded team of Rajeev Ram and Great Britain’s Joe Salisbury fell to unseeded pair Ivan Dodig of Croatia and Austin Krajicek, also from the United States. The favored team was unable to convert multiple match points in the final set, and Dodig and Krajicek earned a second win against a seeded team this tournament, 3-6, 7-6(9), 7-6(10).  

The wheelchair competition also got underway in Paris on Tuesday, and American Dana Mathewson, playing her second French Open, scored her first-ever singles win by beating Chile's Macarena Cabrillana, 6-1, 6-4. Mathewson rallied from 3-0 down in the second set to book a Wednesday quarterfinal with No. 3 seed Aniek van Koot of the Netherlands. David Wagner, the U.S. representative in the quad wheelchair event, will also play his first singles and doubles matches on Wednesday.

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