Coco Gauff drops ‘cowardly’ comment ahead of Iga Swiatek French Open showdown

World No 1 Iga Swiatek hasn’t dropped a set on her way into the French Open quarters-final where she will meet Coco Gauff

Coco Gauff claimed she would be “cowardly” not to want to face world No.1 Iga Swiatek as she insisted: “If you want to be the best you have to beat the best”. The American teenager has lost all six of her matches to the Pole – including the French Open final last year.

The two will meet again in the quarters-finals after Gauff saw off Slovakian Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 7-5 6-2. And all-conquering Swiatek reached the last eight for the loss of only nine games when Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko retired ill at 5-1 down.

But world No.6 Gauff claimed: “Since last year I have been wanting to play her especially at this tournament. I figured that it was going to happen. I’m the type of mentality if you want to be the best you have to beat the best.

“I think also if you want to improve, you have to play the best. I think it would be almost cowardly to say that I want to not face the noise and not face the challenge, but I think that I’m up for it. I have improved a lot since last year, and she has too. I think it will be a great battle for us and for the fans too.”

Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia won the longest women’s match of the year – and the longest at Roland Garros since 1995 – when took three hours and 51 minutes to get past Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-7 6-3 7-5. She will now face Wimbledon and US Open finalist Ons Jabeur who beat American Bernarda Pera 6-3 6-1.


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