Iga Swiatek, Coco Gauff cruise into Round of 16 at French Open

League: Tennis

Posted on: 01 Jun, 2024 at 12:24 AM

Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

World No. 1 Iga Swiatek celebrated her 23rd birthday in Grand Slam fashion on Friday, defeating Czech Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2 to easily move into the Round of 16 at the French Open in Paris.

Swiatek, of Poland, advanced to the fourth round at Paris for the sixth consecutive year. She has won the past two titles and three overall at Roland Garros.

She needed just 93 minutes to defeat Bouzkova -- who has 10 career wins against top-10 players -- in their first-ever match. Swiatek struck 32 winners compared to 16 for Bouzkova and broke her serve four times.

"I was waiting until after the match to feel that I have a birthday because I knew that I need to focus on my work because if I would lose, it would be a total disaster," Swiatek told reporters. "So I'm happy that I won, and I kind of gave myself a present."

The victory continued an incredible run at Roland Garros, where Swiatek is 18-0 in the first week of the tournament in her career and 32-2 overall.

Swiatek will take on Anastasia Potapova of Russia, a 7-5, 6-7 (6), 6-4 winner against Xinyu Wang of China.

Also posting an efficient win Friday was third-seeded Coco Gauff, who eliminated Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine 6-2, 6-4. While Gauff wasn't at her sharpest -- eight winners compared to 24 unforced errors -- she won the match on defense, breaking Yastremska's serve in five of nine service games.

It's become a strength for reigning U.S. Open champ Gauff this season, winning 49 percent of her return games, according to the WTA.

"One thing I learned from Serena (Williams), she would spend probably like an hour sometimes literally just hitting returns," Gauff said, per the WTA Tour website. "I took inspiration from that because that's the first part of the point. I think the average rally is like four or five balls. The first two balls are really important.

"For me, returns were something I was working on a lot because my return-made percentage honestly used to be really, really bad like a couple years ago. I'd be curious to look at those stats."

Awaiting Gauff in the next round with a spot in the quarterfinals at stake is unseeded Elisabetta Cocciaretto of Italy, who defeated No. 17 seed Liudmila Samsonova of Russia 7-6 (4), 6-2.

Also moving to the fourth round were Czech Marketa Vondrousova, the fifth seed, and eighth-seeded Ons Jabeur of Tunisia. Vondrousova defeated France's Chloe Paquet 6-1, 6-3, while Jabeur topped Canada's Leylah Fernandez 6-4, 7-6 (5).

Clara Tauson of Denmark beat Sofia Kenin 6-2, 7-5, while Serbian Olga Danilovic rallied to a narrow 0-6, 7-5, 7-6 (8) victory over Croatian Donna Vekic in three hours and eight minutes.

"I practice for these kind of moments," Danilovic said through tears in her post-match interview. "When they come, I really want to take the best out of them and to enjoy being here. And to enjoy to suffer as well. In tennis, at the end, sometimes you really need to suffer, like I did today."

--Field Level Media