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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Tuesday May 14, 2024

Coco Gauff

Coco Gauff battled past China's Zheng Qinwen to reach her second career Rome semifinal.

Photo Source: Getty

Coco Gauff edged past China’s Zheng Qinwen for her first Top 10 win of 2024, 7-6(4), 6-1, setting a semifinal with top-seeded Iga Swiatek at the Foro Italico in Rome.

Tennis Express

In Tuesday evening’s first-time tour-level meeting with this year’s Australian Open runner-up, Gauff pulled away after a tight opening set to improve to 25-7 overall in 2024, and 7-2 on the clay.

Gauff hit 17 winners against 20 unforced errors and was only broken once in the one hour and 48-minute contest. The American broke Zheng four times from eight opportunities.

“I played really well today,” said Gauff. “She’s a tough opponent to play.

“I’m really happy with how I played – I managed my emotions well and played aggressively.”

Gauff made 66.7 percent of her first serves and won 32 of 40 of those points (80 percent) to keep Zheng at bay. She dropped just five points on serve in the second set as she pulled away from the World No.7.

Gauff will make her second semifinal appearance in Rome – she also reached the final four in 2021, before falling to eventual champion Swiatek.

Gauff owns a 1-9 lifetime record against the Polish juggernaut, including 0-3 on the clay. In addition to their Rome semifinal in 2021 (7-6(3), 6-3), the pair have also met at Roland Garros twice, with Swiatek defeating Gauff in the 2022 final (6-1, 6-3) and the 2023 quarterfinals (6-4, 6-2).

“She’s a tough opponent to play, especially on clay, there’s a reason why she’s No.1,” Gauff said. “But I feel like I’m getting better with each match and I’m really excited to play the semifinal in two days.”


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