In a demanding sport the place each participant in each match loses — besides one — Coco Gauff is at present that singular exception.
After dispatching Maria Sakkari 6-2, 6-4 within the quarterfinals of the China Open, the 19-year-old American is driving a 16-match win streak.
“It doesn’t really feel like 16,” she stated afterward. “It form of glided by quick.”
No.17 gained’t come simply. Gauff will meet Iga Swiatek in a Saturday collision of the No.2- and No.3-ranked gamers on the Hologic WTA Tour. They lead all WTA gamers with seven Prime 10 wins this 12 months — just one will emerge with an eighth.
The opposite semifinal options No.5 Elena Rybakina in opposition to rising star Liudmila Samsonova. Meaning three of the Prime 5 gamers will take to the Diamond Court docket on the Nationwide Tennis Middle in Beijing. Three of them are 22 years outdated or youthful, and Rybakina is simply 24.
No.2 Iga Swiatek vs. No.3 Coco Gauff
The case for Swiatek: She defeated No.9 seed Caroline Garcia in a wild quarterfinal, 6-7 (8), 7-6 (5), 6-1.
It was her 25th victory in WTA 1000 occasions this 12 months — another than final 12 months when she completed No.1. Swiatek has now recorded 61 wins this 12 months, probably the most of any participant, excluding Billie Jean King Cup matches. She is the primary participant to register consecutive seasons of 60-plus wins since Agnieszka Radwanska in 2012-2013.
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Swiatek had crushed Gauff seven straight occasions to open their head-to-head collection once they met within the Western & Southern Open semifinals again in mid-August. Gauff gained 7-6 (2), 3-6, 6-4.
“I do know additionally how she performs, what she’s improved, what she modified,” Swiatek stated. “I’m simply going to make use of that data and never overanalyze as a result of I believe we’re each good gamers. Now we simply should form of each struggle.
“I’m certain it’s not going to be a straightforward match most likely. It’s going to be tight.”
The case for Gauff: She hasn’t misplaced in 57 days, going again to her defeat in Montreal by the hands of doubles accomplice Jessica Pegula. She’s gained 20 of the previous 21 matches, bringing her a WTA 500 (Washington, D.C.), a WTA 1000 (Cincinnati) and a Grand Slam (US Open).
That win in Cincinnati over Swiatek looms massive on this one.
“Yeah,” Gauff stated. “I’ve extra confidence stepping into. It’s going to be a tricky match. I imply, she’s a tricky participant. I’m not going to attempt to put an excessive amount of stress on myself. I misplaced to her a variety of occasions. I’ll attempt to get quantity two on the board.”
How properly has she been taking part in? Gauff has 36 hard-court wins this 12 months, excluding Billie Jean King Cup, probably the most amongst WTA gamers. The final American teenager to win that many in a season was Venus Williams (42) in 1999. The final teenager to get this far in Beijing was Agnes Szavay in 2007.
Yet one more little bit of context: Gauff is the primary American teenager with a 16-match win streak since Serena Williams in 1999.
No.5 Elena Rybakina vs. Liudmila Samsonova
The case for Rybakina: She simply beat Aryna Sabalenka, the No.1 participant on this planet, 7-5, 6-2.
In a matchup of deadly hard-hitters, Rybakina was higher. She ripped 12 aces, in opposition to solely a single double fault. She’s the primary participant to win 4 consecutive matches in opposition to reigning No.1s since Belinda Bencic (2015-19).
With Sabalenka serving at 5-all within the first set, Rybakina displayed monumental poise, successful the 20th level of the sport, changing her fifth break level. That was the turning level and delivered her right into a fifth WTA 1000 semifinal for the season.
A win on Saturday would put her right into a fourth WTA 1000 ultimate. Beforehand, Rybakina gained in Indian Wells and Rome and misplaced to Petra Kvitova in Miami.
In her earlier 4 matches, Samsonova spent 7 hours, 38 minutes on court docket — greater than some other participant within the semifinals.
The case for Samsonova: Like Gauff, the 22-year-old Samsonova comes into this match buoyed by a strong dose of recency bias.
Again in August, Samsonova reached the ultimate on the WTA 1000 occasion in Montreal. She beat Sabalenka within the Spherical of 16 and later Rybakina within the semifinals. Beforehand, Samsonova defeated Rybakina two years in the past in Montreal and final 12 months in Tokyo.
Samsonova dealt with No.13 seed Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 6-2 — in 66 minutes. That win pushes her again into the Prime 20, not far under her career-high No.12 rating again in February.
Tactically, Samsonova stated in an interview, Rybakina and Sabalenka supply related challenges.
“Towards Lena, I should be actually, actually highly effective,” she stated. “I’m good, able to go.”
Samsonova has crushed Rybakina all 3 times they’ve performed.
- Gauff’s streak on the road
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