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Coco Gauff signs French Open semi-finals with loss to unusual Barbora Krejcikova

PARIS – Unseeded Barbora Krejcikova reached her first Grand Slam semifinal by coming back from an early deficit and beating 17-year-old Coco Gauff 7-6 (6), 6-3 at the French Open on Wednesday.

Gauff led 3-0 at the start, then 5-3, and held a total of five set points in the opening, but failed to convert any.

Krejcikova took advantage and grabbed that set by taking the last four points in the tiebreaker. She then drew 15 points in a row over a stretch en route to a 5-0 edge in the second set.

Finishing the most important victory of her singles career, however, was not easy: Krejcikova needed six match points to do so and lifted her arms over her head when she finally won when Gauff sent a hand wide.

Krejcikova is a 25-year-old from the Czech Republic who has won two Grand Slam doubles titles but only plays in his fifth major singles tournament and only once before reached the fourth round. She is currently ranked as a career-high 33rd and on a 1

0-match winning streak in singles.

She finished the nine-match race of the Florida-based 24-seeded Gauff and was the youngest French Open quarterfinalist since 2006. Gauff’s 41 unforced errors included seven double errors – and after one she missed her racket frame by hitting the three times towards the ground.

On Thursday, Krejcikova will meet either defending champion Iga Swiatek from Poland or No. 17 seed Maria Sakkari from Greece, who was scheduled to play in last woman’s quarterfinal match. The second semifinal is No. 31 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova from Russia against unusual Tamara Zidansek from Slovenia.

Gauff vs. Krejcikova began late in the morning with temperatures in the low 70s Fahrenheit (low 20s Celsius), a blue sky and no wind.

After the number of fans in the main stadium with 15,000 seats was limited to 1,000 for each of the first 10 days of the tournament due to COVID-19 restrictions, this limit was raised to 5,000 on Wednesday. And those in attendance pulled high after Gauff, who jumped on stage at Wimbledon two years ago by reaching the fourth round.

Shouts of “Allez, Coco! ” (” Let’s go, Coco! “) Greeted her winners. Loud applause preceded her service play.

And Gauff treated those supporters to a fantastic start, leading 3-0 after a dozen minutes, thanks in part to winning the first three points that lasted at least 10 strokes and two of Krejcikova’s eight double-fouls.

The contrast was striking as Krejcikova broke back on her way to pulling herself at 3-all when only a bit of polite applause was heard.

Gauff earned for the opening set at 5-3 and was a point away from taking it but pushed a backhand long. It was followed by a double fault and a net backhand that allowed Krejcikova to break.

Gauff had two more set points while she was 6-5 and returned, but on the first she missed a backhand, and on the second, Krejcikova produced a backhand winner.

Two more chances for Gauff to grab this set arrived in the tiebreaker as the American led 6-4. Again, Krejcikova was up to the task of erasing both by whipping a pair of front winners across the course and then using another winner from that wing to take that set.

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