Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships: Coco Gauff to face World No. 1 Iga Swiatek in the semi-finals

Coco Gauff has set up a semi-final meeting with world No. 1 Iga Swiatek after beating fellow American Madison Keys at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Gauff beat her compatriot 6-2 7-5 in their quarter-final clash to reach her third semi-final at the WTA 1000 level or higher.

A shaky start from Keys saw Gauff dominate the first set, but the world No. 23 challenged well in the second and led 5-4, but a poor game allowed the 18-year-old to retire as Keys finished with 51. unapplied errors.

Iga Swiatek has already won in Qatar and she is now aiming to win the Dubai title after a blistering start in 2023

Gauff will now face Swiatek in the last four, the top seed having been eliminated after opponent Karolina Pliskova was ruled out through illness.

This will be the sixth time the duo have met, including in the Roland Garros final last year, and Gauff is yet to win a set in their last five encounters.

Before facing Swiatek, Gauff said: “All five times I did something wrong! To be honest, she plays good tennis and there’s a reason why she’s world No. 1.

“I have no pressure. I just have to play my game – I really think I’ve improved since the last time I played her.

“The standings are just a number at the end of the day. You just have to step onto the pitch believing you can win, and that’s what I’m going to do.”

Aryna Sabalenka reacts after dropping a ball to Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic during their quarterfinal match at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
Aryna Sabalenka saw her undefeated start to the year ended by Barbora Krejcikova

Czech Barbora Krejcikova came back from a set and a break to earn a stunning 0-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-1 victory over Aryna Sabalenka and end her 13-0 start to the year.

“I was just fighting,” Krejcikova said. “There’s not much you can change because she plays well, she serves well, she hits really hard.

“I was just trying to get into his rhythm, I was just trying, I don’t know, maybe to be a bit more aggressive because otherwise it’s hard to do anything else.”

The superb return of Krejcikova

Barbora Krejcikova became the first player to win a WTA 1000 quarter-final after losing the first set 6-0 since Timea Bacsinszky in Beijing in 2015 against Sara Errani.

Krejcikova will face Jessica Pegula in the semi-finals with the advance of the American when Karolina Muchova withdrew with an abdominal injury.


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