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Coco Gauff, Iga Swiatek cruise into French Open 4th round

Coco Gauff, Iga Swiatek cruise into French Open 4th round

American Coco Gauff, the No. 3 seed, showed some second-set resilience in a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska on Friday to advance to the French Open fourth round and move a step closer to ending a three-year clay-court drought.

Meanwhile, No. 1 Iga Swiatek celebrated her 23rd birthday in style with an emphatic 6-4, 6-2 victory over Marie Bouzkova to also move into the last 16.

Gauff, the US Open winner who reached the final in Paris in 2022 and last won a title on clay in 2021, was in solid form in the first set against surprise Australian Open semifinalist Yastremska before struggling briefly in the second.

“I played her in Madrid, and she plays really well from behind,” Gauff said. “I knew closing the match would be difficult. I definitely could have closed it out on my serve [in the previous game].

“The last game, she hit three or four balls on the edge of the line. … It was difficult to stay focused and not get too mad. But I’m glad I was able to push through.”

Gauff will next face Italy’s world No. 51 Elisabetta Cocciaretto.

Yastremska, the Ukrainian world No. 32 who is racing up the rankings after her career was derailed by a provisional doping ban in 2021, which was later lifted, was inconsistent with her big-hitting game and her serve and sent a backhand wide to give Gauff an early break.

Gauff then cruised through the set courtesy of another break as Yastremska’s unforced errors piled up.

She did break Gauff repeatedly in the second set, threatening to make a game of it, with the American struggling with her first serve.

Just as Yastremska seemed to have found her range and a way back into the match, Gauff, who had a match point at 5-2, held firm despite double-faulting in consecutive service games to clinch the win.

Swiatek survived a major scare in the previous round when she saved a match point against Naomi Osaka before sealing a hard-fought victory, but against Bouzkova, she picked apart the Czech player’s serve with some precision hitting.

The defending champion showed no signs of a hangover from the three-setter with Osaka and consolidated an early break to go 3-1 up in the opening set, but Bouzkova fought back from 5-2 down to give the Polish player a workout.

However, Swiatek switched gears and carefully constructed her points, using the angles well to make Bouzkova run from one corner of Court Philippe Chatrier to the other, firing 18 winners in the opening set.

The top seed…

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