Copy of 2024-06-06T145047Z_272591821_UP1EK66158M7V_RTRMADP_3_TENNIS-FRENCHOPEN-1717686265219
Poland's Iga Swiatek celebrates winning her semi-final match against Coco Gauff of the US at Roland Garros, Paris, on Thursday. Image Credit: Reuters

Paris: Iga Swiatek continued her bid for a fourth French Open title on Thursday with a dominant victory over Coco Gauff to reach another final at Roland Garros.

The world No 1 is just one match away from becoming the first woman to win the tournament in three straight years since Justine Henin in 2007 after a 6-2, 6-4 victory.

"It was intense, in the second set, it was kind of tight because we were breaking each other, but I'm glad I was consistent in my tactics and just went for it in the end," she said.

Swiatek saved a match point against Naomi Osaka in the second round last week but has barely broken sweat since, losing just 14 games across the next four rounds.

"Something changed, I just adjusted better to the court and it's not easy to play the first matches at a Grand Slam because the atmosphere is much different to other tournaments," she added.

"And against Noami it was difficult to get into it because she just went for it... I've improved my feel and gained confidence."

The Pole's career win-loss record at Roland Garros now stands at a staggering 34-2, while she is on a 20-match winning streak at the event.

The 23-year-old has won all four of her previous Grand Slam finals and will bid to extend that run against either 17-year-old sensation Mirra Andreeva or Jasmine Paolini on Saturday.

World No 1 will meet Italian 12th seed Paolini in the final after the latter defeated 17-year-old Russian sensation Mirra Andreeva.

Swiatek hit only 10 winners in an unspectacular display by her high standards, but US Open champion Gauff made 39 unforced errors and was left holding back tears following an argument with the chair umpire.

Top seed Swiatek could become only the fourth woman to win four Roland Garros titles in the Open era - after Henin, Chris Evert and Steffi Graf.

She is also on track to join Serena Williams as the only women to complete the treble of French, Madrid and Rome Open titles in the same year.

Gauff, who will rise to world number two next week, has now lost 11 of her 12 matches against Swiatek, all in straight sets.

That includes three successive defeats at Roland Garros, after last year's quarter-finals and the 2022 final.

Tearful Gauff

Swiatek, who had three bagel sets across her previous two matches, quickly struck first blood with a break in the opening game.

Gauff had plenty of chances, but was erratic from the baseline, missing both break points she created and hitting 18 unforced errors to effectively hand Swiatek the first set.

The youngster found some consistency early in the second set, moving 2-1 ahead on serve.

Gauff then became embroiled in a heated exchange with the chair umpire over the timing of a line call, exclaiming "it's a Grand Slam semi-final, know the rules of the game", while almost moved to tears.

That perceived injustice helped the American briefly raise her game, snatching her first break of the match after a long rally to lead 3-1, only to be pegged back immediately.

There was only going to be one outcome from then on as Swiatek reeled off four games in a row to take complete control.

Gauff dug deep, saving two match points to force Swiatek to serve it out.

Swiatek sealed a place in her fourth French Open final in five years on her fourth match point as another wild Gauff forehand flew well off target.

Paolini ousts Andreeva

Paolini ended the run of Andreeva in the last four on Thursday, winning 6-3, 6-1.

Paolini is through to her first Grand Slam final at the age of 28. She had never gone beyond the second round of a major before the start of this year.

The world No 15 had won a total of four matches in 16 Grand Slam appearances before advancing to the fourth round of the Australian Open in January.

Now she is one win away from an improbable title at Roland Garros as she tries to emulate compatriot Francesca Schiavone, who won the 2010 French Open. Paolini is also guaranteed to break into the top 10 for the first time.

"I learned I think a little bit later than other players, to dream is the most important thing in sport and in life," said Paolini.

"I'm happy I could dream this moment. I don't know what to say, I'm so emotional."

Andreeva had become the youngest Grand Slam semi-finalist in 27 years with a shock victory over second seed Aryna Sabalenka in the last eight.

But her bid to be crowned the youngest major champion since Martina Hingis at the 1997 US Open was cut short as Andreeva was unable to reproduce the level that saw her put out an ailing Sabalenka.

Paolini snatched the only break of a tight opening set in the fourth game, saving five break chances across her next two service games to keep Andreeva at arm's length.

The errors continued to pile up for Andreeva and Paolini seized her opportunity once more when it arose at 1-1 in the second set, before breaking for a second time to stride towards the finish line.

With Andreeva looking increasingly disconsolate and fighting back tears, Paolini applied the coup de grace with one last break to complete a resounding victory.