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French Open: Three first-timers advance to the semifinals

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Martina Trevisan celebrates a set point against Leylah Fernandez.(Antonio Borga/Getty Images)

The semifinals at the French Open are set following an exciting round of quarterfinal matchups. Three out of the four semifinalists will be playing in their first Grand Slam semifinals.

Coco Gauff celebrated graduating high school in May with a trip to her first Grand Slam semifinal. In her quarterfinal matchup against Sloane Stephens, the 18-year-old took control to win 7-5, 6-2.

The match provided redemption for Gauff, who lost to Stephens the last time the two matched up at the U.S. Open in September. Gauff won 40 service points to Stephens’ 25.

The experience from last year’s French Open quarterfinals, which Gauff lost to Barbora Krejcikova, has paid off as Gauff continues to elevate her game and become a more seasoned player.

“I think that was the biggest lesson I learned last year in my quarterfinal match,” Gauff said after her fourth-round win. “I had a couple set points and I think I freaked out when some of those points didn’t go my way.

“[Tuesday] I didn’t freak out when a couple of those important points didn’t go my way.”

Following her match against Stephens, Gauff said she’s focusing on playing more in the moment.

“I feel like last year I was looking at the finish line,” she said. “And now I’m not looking at anything really except that ball in front of me.”

Even if she falls in the semifinals, Gauff stands to return to the top 20 in the world on Monday.

Gauff has had a successful doubles run as well with partner Jessica Pegula. The two are ranked eighth in the draw and will play in Wednesday’s quarterfinals against Anna Bondár and Greet Minnen.

In singles, Gauff will face Martina Trevisan in the semifinals. Trevisan took down Leylah Fernandez 6-2, 6-7 (7-3), 6-3 for her first Grand Slam semifinal appearance. She’s also the first Italian woman to reach the Roland-Garros semifinals since Sara Errani in 2013.

It’ll be a Roland-Garros rematch for the two, as they faced each other in 2020 with Trevisan knocking out Gauff in the second round.

Iga Swiatek punctuated her 21st birthday Tuesday with a quarterfinal win Wednesday, advancing past No. 11 Jessica Pegula – the highest remaining player in the draw besides herself – 6-3, 6-2. It was a return to form for the No. 1 seed, who uncharacteristically dropped a set in her previous matchup.

With the win, Swiatek’s unbeaten run has extended to 33 straight matches. She is now in sole possession of the third-longest WTA winning streak this century.

In the first set, Pegula went up 3-2 on Swiatek before the 2020 champion responded, rattling off four straight games to win the set. She further controlled the match in the second set to extend her lead against Pegula in their head-to-head record, moving to 3-1. All three of those wins have come this year.

She’ll face off in the semifinals against Daria Kasatkina, who advanced past Veronika Kudermetova with a 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) win.

Like Gauff and Trevisan, Kasatkina will be playing in her first Grand Slam semifinal. Kudermetova, playing in her first Grand Slam quarterfinal, broke Kasatkina for a 3-1 lead in the first set before her Russian compatriot took over.

Kasatkina pulled even at 4-4 before taking the lead to win the first set. She went down 5-6 in the second set before battling back to win the tiebreak.