Gauff Sets Swiatek SF In Dubai; Krejcikova Upsets Sabalenka
Coco Gauff set up a super semifinal showdown Friday with Iga Swiatek. The American teen eased past her countrywoman Madison Keys 6-2, 7-5.
“Staying present in the moment and just accepting the good shots she hit,” Gauff said to the WTA. “I knew it was going to be a tough match, and I’m glad I was able to stay stable when I needed to.
“This is the third time we’ve played against each other, so I think we knew what each other are like. We practiced last week together in Doha, so it definitely helps. But sometimes it doesn’t help, because they know what you like to do because they play with you so much. You just have to stick to your game plan.”
Swiatek, who had the day off thanks to a Karolina Pliskova walkover, has won all 10 sets and all five meetings with Gauff, including the French Open final last year.
“I mean, no pressure,” Gauff said of facing Swiatek. “She’s playing at the top of her game. It’s going to be a challenge. But, to be honest, I think it’s a good matchup just to see where I can maybe improve on.
“All five times, I did something wrong! To be honest, she’s playing great tennis and there’s a reason she’s World No.1. Tomorrow I have no pressure. I just have to play my game — I definitely think I’ve gotten better since the last time I played her. Ranking is just a number at the end of the day. You just have to step on the court believing you can win, and that’s what I’m going to do tomorrow.”
Australian Open champ Aryna Sabalenka’s 13-0 run to start the year came to end. The Belarussian suffered her first loss of the season falling in her quarterfinal to Barbora Krejcikova who rallied 0-6, 7-6(7-2), 6-1. Sabalenka won the first seven games but Krejcikova took the last five. It was Krejcikova first tour-level win over Sabalenka in three tries.
“I was just fighting,” Krejcikova told the WTA. “There’s not really much you can change because she plays well, she serves well, she hits really hard. I was just trying to get to her pace, just try to, I don’t know, maybe be a little more aggressive because otherwise it’s difficult to do something else.”
In her 10th career semifinal, the Czech will now face American No. 1 Jessica Pegula who had a walkover as well as Karolina Muchova withdrew with an ab injury.
“I’m looking forward for the revenge because in Australia I lost to her,” Krejcikova said of her loss last month to Pegula. “I definitely want to just go there again and just enjoy the match, just fight for every single ball. If I’m able to do that, I think I definitely have a chance.”
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