Top seed Iga Swiatek takes down Wimbledon champ in Cincinnati

League: Tennis

Posted on: 19 Aug, 2023 at 01:09 AM

Credit: Cara Owsley/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

Top-seeded Iga Swiatek of Poland eased past Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova 7-6 (3), 6-1 to reach her 10th semifinal of the year on Friday at the Western & Southern Open in Mason, Ohio.

They played a tightly contested first set at the Cincinnati-area event, with the 10th-seeded Czech southpaw causing Swiatek problems with her serve. Swiatek lost serve twice in the opening set, but said she regained her footing just in time and never let off the gas.

"It's not easy to adjust to her spin," Swiatek said. "After the first set, I was determined to fight for every ball. I was more focused (in the second set) and knew what worked. I knew exactly how I should play."

Playing in her 12th quarterfinal in 13 events in 2023, Swiatek's win sets up a semifinal matchup against No. 7 seed Coco Gauff, who defeated Italian qualifier Jasmine Paolini 6-3, 6-2.

Swiatek is 7-0 against Gauff all-time, including in the French Open final in 2022 and this year's French quarterfinals.

"I don't have a good track record against (Swiatek)," Gauff said. "I feel like the (2023) French Open match that I played her, even though it was a straight-sets score line, I think I made some improvements against her since the last time I played her.

"I'm just really going to go out there and continue to follow the plan that I've been doing in the last couple of my matches. ... I do feel a lot more confident going into it tomorrow. But she's not an easy opponent to play, especially against me."

It took just 72 minutes for Gauff, 19, to take down Paolini and reach the third WTA 1000 semifinal of her career (Rome 2021, Dubai 2023).

It didn't come without some adversity. Gauff dropped the first two games of each set before roaring back both times. She won 16 of her 23 first-service points (69.6 percent) along with 10 of her 19 points on second serve (52.6 percent).

In the other half of the draw, No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus took care of No. 5 seed Ons Jabeur of Tunisia 7-5, 6-3.

Sabalenka finished with a 9-3 advantage in aces, saved five of nine break points and converted six of her 10 opportunities to break Jabeur's serve.

Sabalenka will face Karolina Muchova in the semis. In an all-Czech quarterfinal match, Muchova won her first three games before Marie Bouzkova had to retire due to a right thigh injury, which allowed Muchova to reach the first WTA 1000 semifinal of her career.

"Against Aryna, we played on clay which is slower than here," Muchova said of her history against Sabalenka. "She has the power, so I'll see it from the other side and try to take away her shots."

--Field Level Media