Coco Gauff says she has “nothing to lose” in Saturday’s French Open closing towards world primary Iga Swiatek, together with her opponent on a 34-match profitable streak and searching for a second Roland Garros title. Teenage star Gauff is the youngest Grand Slam finalist since Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon 18 years in the past and solely graduated from highschool whereas in Paris. The 18-year-old has but to drop a set within the event and confirmed little indicators of nerves in her first main semi-final with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Martina Trevisan.
However she is the underdog towards Poland’s Swiatek, who will equal Venus Williams’ file for the longest ladies’s unbeaten run within the twenty first century if she lifts the trophy.
“I believe getting in I’ve nothing to lose and he or she’s positively the favorite going into the match on paper,” mentioned American Gauff, who burst onto the scene by making the Wimbledon fourth spherical as a 15-year-old in 2019.
“I am simply going to play free and play my finest tennis. I believe in a Grand Slam closing something can occur.
“If I do raise the trophy, actually, I do not assume my life goes to vary actually. I do know it sounds form of dangerous to say that, however the individuals who love me are nonetheless going to like me regardless if I raise the trophy or not.”
Swiatek, who herself solely turned 21 on Tuesday, has loved a outstanding season and is searching for a sixth successive title.
The 2020 French Open champion’s 6-2, 6-1 semi-final thrashing of Daria Kasatkina noticed her draw degree with Serena Williams’ career-best profitable streak from 2013.
“It is going to be powerful (for her opponent),” mentioned Russian Kasatkina after seeing her run comprehensively ended by the highest seed.
“I believe the psychological half goes to, particularly initially, make an enormous distinction.
“It is troublesome when the participant is transferring good after which she will be able to transition to assault mode. Then it makes it actually, actually powerful.”
4 of Swiatek’s 5 event victories this 12 months have come on the prestigious WTA 1,000 occasions, however she says she nonetheless has to battle nerves earlier than huge matches.
“I could not eliminate the expectations absolutely (within the semi-finals), however I attempted to just accept that, that they will be there and it’ll stress me slightly bit extra,” mentioned Swiatek.
‘Peace, finish gun violence’
Gauff wrote “peace, finish gun violence” on a courtside TV digicam after her semi-final victory and has mentioned she needs to talk out about points off the courtroom.
Swiatek, although, doesn’t assume she is prepared but to make use of her profile to speak about political or social points.
“I do not truly know the way I wish to use my platform,” she mentioned. “I have not figured it out but, as a result of it is nonetheless fairly new for me.
“I really feel like I actually must deal with my tennis first. When I’ll get extra expertise in life typically I believe it’ll be simpler for me to decide on the best path.”
The Pole has received each of her profession conferences with Gauff — within the 2021 Rome semi-finals and in Miami earlier this 12 months.
“I am fairly glad that she’s doing nicely, as a result of I believe she’s additionally had an enormous quantity of strain in her life,” Swiatek mentioned of Gauff.
“After I see her, I are inclined to overlook that she’s 18.”
Swiatek says she listens to basic rock music, together with Led Zeppelin and AC/DC, earlier than stepping onto courtroom, whereas Gauff enjoys a hardcore rap playlist.
However there will not be a conflict of types on Court docket Philippe Chatrier as each gamers have a sport based mostly on laborious hitting from the baseline.
With a mixed age youthful than the injured Serena Williams, this might be the primary Grand Slam chapter of a protracted rivalry on the high of the ladies’s sport.
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