Paris | Trevisan to meet Gauff in Roland Garros semi-final

With sheer delight, Martina Trevisan rebounded from losing a match point and a set to beat Leylah Fernandez and reach her first major semi-final at the French Open in Paris, where she will meet an equally jubilant Coco Gauff, who outplayed Sloane Stephens in straight sets on Tuesday at Roland Garros.

In the first match point, I felt a little more nervous. I thought too much, that I was in the semi-finals. But the important thing is that after that point I accepted the situation, it was normal to feel that emotion because it was my second quarter-final, but I was very close to the semi-final, which was the first time for me. So I accepted the situation. Martina Trevisan

Raising her arms in triumph and sporting a wide grin, Trevisan went one round further then her 2020 quarter-final run, getting past US Open finalist Fernandez, 6-2 6-7(3) 6-3.

In a battle between two left-handers, Trevisan took an early lead and cruised to a match point in the second at 6-1, 5-1, when Fernandez, who was dealing with a foot issue, fought back, and the Canadian grabbed the set in a tiebreak to level.

The seasoned Italian 28-year old, however, brushed the disappointment aside and got herself into another early lead in the decider, riding out the match to put away the 19-year old 17th seed after the 2 hour 21 minute battle on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

“I looked around me and I was in the most important court in the world,” Trevisan said. “Even I felt a lot of tension and I was so nervous because even my arms felt it, I was happy anyway.

“I accepted the situation, because, as I say, it was normal to feel the tension because I was playing for my semi-final, and I was in the match point.

“So I accepted the situation, and I tried to be focused on every point. That was, I think, the most important things that I did today.”

It has been a tough journey for Trevisan, who is ranked 59 in the world and is named after Martina Navratilova, as she spent 4 years away from tennis to battle an eating disorder.

“I’m happy on the court,” she said. “I’m doing what I love. So my past is the past, and it helped me to be in the present, to be what I am right now.”

Leylah Fernandez (L) received medical treatment for her foot and lost to Martina Trevisan in the quarter-finals at Roland Garros

© Thomas Samson/AFP via Getty Images

Using heavy topspin and cleverly changing the pace and trajectory of the ball, Trevisan leaped to a 3-1 lead and although Fernandez held for 3-2, the Canadian then called the trainer for treatment to her right foot, adding some bandaging in a medical timeout.

The 19-year-old was clearly in discomfort, and Trevisan broke again to lead 5-2, and while she missed 3 set points trying to serve it out, the Italian got across the line after 41 minutes.

Fernandez dug deep to try to turn the match around, showing incredible resilience to fight back in the second set despite the problems with her foot.

The Canadian broke for 3-1, but was pegged back immediately, and the two women got to 4-4 before the Italian broke again to lead 5-4 and have a chance to serve out the match.

At 5-4, 40-30 Trevisan held a match point, but the nerves were obvious and Fernandez came alive, slapping winners to break back and, 2 holds later, they were into the breaker where the Italian faltered again, allowing the Canadian to force a final set.

The momentum now was firmly with the teenager, who went into the decider with a 7-2 record in 3-set matches in 2022, but Trevisan had other ideas, bouncing back immediately to race out to a 4-0 lead.

Although Fernandez got one of the breaks back, the Italian broke again, only for her nerves to re-appear as she tried to serve it out once more, coughing up her 6th double-fault to open, and handing the 17th seed a lifeline, after which the Canadian held to love to narrow the deficit to 5-3.

This time, Trevisan held her nerves in check, flicking a forehand cross-court for a winner to clinch a famous win.

Trevisan has now won her last 10 matches dating back to the Rabat title last weekend.

Her forehand has been the signature shot of her winning streak, and as soon as she could set up on it, she was able to pummel it in any direction to end the point, striking 43 winners in the match to Fernandez’s 29, while Trevisan kept her unforced error tally to 29 compared to the Canadian’s 44 miscues.

“In the first match point, I felt a little more nervous,” said the 28-year-old Trevisan on court. “I thought too much, that I was in the semi-finals.

“But the important thing is that after that point I accepted the situation, it was normal to feel that emotion because it was my second quarter-final, but I was very close to the semi-final, which was the first time for me. So I accepted the situation.

“The trophy in Rabat for me was very important. It was an incredible week, the first of my career, so it had very important emotion for me, I came here with a lot of energy, I wasn’t tired.”

On being inspired by former Roland-Garros winner Francesca Schiavone and former US Open champion Flavia Pennetta, Trevisan said: “I am so happy they are both here, I saw Flavia and Francesca here yesterday because they’re playing the Legends Tournament. They were, and they are, an inspiration to me.”

Coco Gauff also made her first semi-final at a major with an emphatic win over Sloane Stephens on Tuesday

© Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP via Getty Images

Playing in her maiden Grand Slam semi-final, Trevisan will take on another teenage star in Gauff, the 18th-seeded American, who defeated her compatriot Stephens, 7-5 6-2, in 90 minutes.

Gauff had lost to Stephens at the US Open, but turned the tables early by going up a break before the former French finalist got back to level, prompting Gauff to use her speed and shot-making to pull away for good.

“It’s important that you have high hopes for yourself, but also, at the same time, it’s important to be in reality and, I think, that’s where I am,” Gauff said. “I’m in reality where I’m enjoying the moment and enjoying the situation.”

The 18-year-old becomes the youngest American to make a major semi-final since Amanda Anismova, who was 17 when she reached the 2019 final four.

Having graduated from high school while in Paris after successfully combined her studies with life on the WTA Tour, Gauff is now just 2 matches away from moving to the top of the class as a potential Grand Slam champion.

“Was graduating tougher?” she reflected. “Yes, because I know how hard it was to do school and play tennis on the road.

“Other players in general get out of sight with life and we think tennis is the most important thing in the world – it is not – so getting my high-school diploma meant a lot to me.”

Sloane Stephens found her mojo in Paris but it could not save her from Coco Gauff

© Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Gauff, who was a quarter-finalist at Roland Garros last year when she was beaten by eventual champion Barbora Krejcikova, went one better with an accomplished, mature display against Stephens, who came into Roland Garros 0-4 on clay this season.

As she has done throughout her career, Stephens found her major mojo, especially here in Paris where she reached the quarters for the 3rd time and has notched up to 32 match-wins at the French Open, which is her highest total of victories at any of the Grand Slams.

The 29-year-old is a former World No 3, who won at Flushing Meadows in 2017 and was the runner-up at Roland Garros the next year.

On Tuesday, Gauff excelled returning the Stephens second serve, though, winning 11 of 13 points, 85 percent, and used her dominance there to convert 6 of her 10 break points, while Stephens went 3-for-9 on her break chances.

Setting the tone early by taking charge of the lengthier points, Gauff quickly broke Stephens in the 2nd game behind rally forehands, but when she served for the set at 5-3, Stephens grabbed control and pulled back on serve.

Gauff, though, reclaimed the momentum at 6-5, reaching triple set point after using outstanding defence to draw a swing volley error from Stephens and, 2 points later, Gauff clinched the set with a backhand winner.

She dropped her serve in the opening game of the second, though, but then went on a 5-game tear after that to serve for the match at 5-1, but 2 inopportune double-faults contributed to a service break, before the 18-year old claimed the win in the following game with another routine break.

“I feel so happy right now that words can’t explain,” Gauff added. “Last year’s quarter-final was a tough loss and it made me stronger and better prepared for moments like today.

“Last time I played [Stephens] I lost so I’m glad today it went different. I told myself to stay mentally there, and that I know there would be shots that I should probably have made.

“And there would be some shots that she would get in the court that no players can reach. It was a mental challenge.”

Gauff will face another first-time semi-finalist in the 28-year-old Trevisan. The two have played before and it was Trevisan who won at the French Open in 2020.

“I remember that match pretty clearly,” Gauff said. “I think I was in double digits with double-faults. I’m not going to do that this time around.

“And also, she’s a tricky player to play on clay, a tricky lefty. I think we’re both playing free tennis, and I think that’s going to be a good matchup.”

Gauff has yet to drop a set in the tournament, and has not been pushed beyond an hour and a half in each of her 5 wins.



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