Roland Garros: Gauff storms into first major quarterfinal

  • Matt Trollope

Coco Gauff has notched yet another milestone in her burgeoning career, beating Ons Jabeur in just 53 minutes to progress to her first Grand Slam quarterfinal.

The 17-year-old, already the youngest player to appear in the last 16 at Roland Garros in 15 years, dismissed Jabeur 6-3 6-1 in the first match of the day at Court Philippe Chatrier.

The victory extends Gauff's winning streak to nine matches and sets up a clash in last eight with Barbora Krejcikova, who now also owns a nine-match unbeaten streak after thrashing a listless Sloane Stephens for the loss of just two games.

"Today I played probably my best match so far in the tournament," said Gauff, who also reached the fourth round at Wimbledon 2019 and Australian Open 2020.

"It definitely does feel different (to those other second-week runs). I just feel like it's been ... I guess professional. I feel like all my matches have been ... straightforward wins, like no crazy three sets and stuff. As we know, I have had a lot of those in the past.

"I just feel like this has been the most consistent tennis I have played at this level. Hopefully I can keep that going."

Gauff played brilliantly to dissect Jabeur for the third time in four career meetings, committing just nine unforced errors for the entire match. 

She displayed her complete skill-set, serving strongly, returning aggressively, blending offense and defense from the baseline and showing both a willingness and talent in coming forward.

Jabeur had no response to the multi-pronged attack, spraying 21 unforced errors.

Gauff's win is the latest in what has been a breakthrough clay-court season; she began it with a trip to the quarterfinals in Charleston, then advanced to the Rome semifinals before claiming her second career WTA title in Parma. 

She now boasts a 16-3 win-loss record on clay in 2021.

Another player enjoying excellent form on the surface is Krejcikova, who won last week's WTA Strasbourg title. 

The world No.33 backed up her impressive third-round upset of fifth seed Elina Svitolina with an even more commanding display against Stephens, a player enjoying a resurgence after a lengthy run of lacklustre form.

The Czech's impressive all-court game saw her race to victory in just 67 minutes, and like Gauff, she progresses to a major quarterfinal for the first time.

"She's young, she's amazing, she's coming up. She's gonna be the next star," Krejcikova said.

"Right now I'm just gonna enjoy (that) I played really well today and that I beat Sloane and that I'm in my first quarterfinals."

For Stephens, it was a day she would rather forget; the 2018 Roland Garros finalist managed just nine winners compared with 26 unforced errors, and won less than half her first-serve points.

Stephens' departure means there are just two major champions – Iga Swiatek and Sofia Kenin – remaining in the women's draw

Kenin faces 17th seed Maria Sakkari while Swiatek, the defending champion, takes on Marta Kostyuk in the night match at Chatrier.

Should they both win, Swiatek and Kenin would meet in the quarterfinals, a rematch of their 2020 final in Paris.