Iga Swiatek extends incredible run to book French Open final against Coco Gauff

Polish world No 1 thrashes Russian Daria Kasatkina and will face the American teenager for the title

Poland's Iga Swiatek celebrates beating Russia's Daria Kasatkina in their French Open semi-final at Roland Garros on June 2, 2022. AFP
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Iga Swiatek booked her place in a second French Open final on Thursday as the world No 1 outclassed Russian Daria Kasatkina to extend her unbeaten run to 34 matches.

The 2020 Roland Garros champion cruised to a dominant 6-2, 6-1 semi-final victory in just 64 minutes on Court Philippe Chatrier – after listening to some music from Led Zeppelin to get herself in the mood.

Swiatek will equal Venus Williams' record for the longest women's winning run since 2000 if she wins Saturday's final against American teenager Coco Gauff.

"I'm so grateful. It's easier to play matches with this kind of support," Swiatek, who won 10 of the last 11 games, said afterwards.

"It's surprising this week how much they're supporting me.

"I try to treat every match in the same way because when I think about how it's the biggest match of the season so far, it stresses me out.

“So I just listen to music – Led Zeppelin, it really pumps me up – and use everything to help me.

"For sure I’m even more happy with the performance than after the previous match, because I feel like my game is getting more and more solid,” added Swiatek.

“I can really loosen up when I’m getting advantage and when I’m having a break, so that’s great. I feel like I’m playing better every match.

"It is a pretty special moment and emotional. I am grateful to be healthy and in that place."

The Paris breeze initially caught out Swiatek as she double-faulted the first point, and when Kasatkina scrambled an early break back for 2-2, another tough test looked on the cards.

But Kasatkina won just one more game while Swiatek took 20 of the last 23 points.

It will be the 21-year-old's second Grand Slam final, as she looks to win a sixth consecutive WTA title.

The Polish star has stormed up the rankings this season, moving from world No 7 to the summit during her remarkable run.

Russia's Daria Kasatkina waves to the crowd as she leaves the court. AFP

Swiatek hammered 22 winners past her opponent and she has still lost only one set in the tournament, against Chinese teenager Zheng Qinwen in the fourth round.

Kasatkina won her first clash with Swiatek on the Eastbourne grass last year, but has lost all four of their meetings in 2022 in straight sets, without winning more than five games in a match.

Swiatek will face Gauff on Saturday after the teenager eased into her maiden Grand Slam final with a straight-sets victory over Martina Trevisan.

The 18-year-old American claimed a 6-3, 6-1 win in a nervous match which saw both players featuring in a major semi-final for the first time.

"I think I'm a little bit in shock right now," said Gauff. "I didn't know how to react after the match. I'm lost for words.

Coco Gauff reacts after beating Italy's Martina Trevisan. AFP

"I have no words to describe how I feel, thank you for cheering me on.

"I've not been nervous all tournament which is surprising. In the morning I go for a walk and that clears my head and after that I feel great.

"When I play a player like her [Trevisan], you have to be patient. "

The players made 37 unforced errors between them in a poor first set before Gauff upped her game in the second.

The 18th seed will be a heavy underdog against Swiatek, but she will have nothing to lose as she bids to become the youngest Slam winner since Maria Sharapova stunned Serena Williams in London 18 years ago.

"I'm just going to go into it like another match," Gauff added.

"Yeah, it's a Grand Slam final but there are so many things going on in the world right now, especially in the US, so I don't think it's worth stressing about it."

Updated: June 02, 2022, 5:31 PM
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