In the singles semifinals on center court, Gauff, the No. 7 seed and ranked No. 5, defeated World No. 1 Iga Swiatek in a three-set thriller (7-6 (2), 3-6, 6-4) that lasted nearly three hours.
Entering the match, Gauff was 0-7 all-time and had never won a set against Swiatek, who is in her 72nd consecutive week at No. 1 and has won three of the last six Grand Slam titles.
“The song quote is, ‘knock me down 9 times, get up 10,’ it’s a Cardi-B song. So, in this case, knock me down seven times, get up eight,” Gauff said in her on-court interview after the win.
It was the third match this year between Swiatek and Gauff after the World No. 1 notched straight-set victories at Roland Garros on June 7 and in the Dubai semifinals in February.
“Just because she’s the No. 1 player in the world, you have to have to just focus on your end of the court, and I knew overall I was playing a little bit stronger today and it came down to the wire.”
Gauff has been playing stronger this summer after falling in the first round at Wimbledon. She won the Citi Open for her fourth career title and first above the WTA 250 level. In Cincinnati, she had not dropped a set and won 36 of 49 games in her three previous wins. She opened Saturday with a resiliency, surviving two sets points and dominating the tiebreak 7-2. It was the first time Gauff had won more than four games in a set against Swiatek since the pair’s first meeting in the 2021 Italian Open semifinals.
After Swiatek bounced back to win the second set 6-3, the two held serve for six games until Gauff broke the No. 1 to take a 4-3 lead. In the final game, Swiatek staved off elimination, surviving three match points before Gauff broke through on the fourth.
Gauff had the majority of support from the packed center court stands on Saturday.
“It meant a lot today,” Gauff said. “I’m glad to play in front of the American crowd. I know Iga (Swiatek) has a lot of Polish fans here. I appreciate you guys being loud for me throughout the match, even when I was down.”
Gauff, who now has the most WTA 1000 wins (42) of any player before the age of 20, is the first teenager to reach the Western & Southern Final since Vera Zvonareva, who was the runner-up in 2004 when Gauff was five months old.
She’s bidding to become the first teenager to win the Western & Southern Open since 17-year-old Linda Tuero in 1968. She’ll meet either No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka or unseeded Karolina Muchova, ranked No. 17, in the finals on Sunday.
This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: W&S Open: Coco Gauff knocks out World No. 1 Iga Swiatek in semifinals