French Open: Coco Gauff and Sloane Stephens set for all-American quarter-final clash

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 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Coco Gauff reached the French Open quarter-finals for a second year in a row as she hammered Elise Mertens in the fourth round.

The 18-year-old, who burst onto the scene at Wimbledon in 2019, had to battle to win the opening set but the second was an absolute cruise as she got the job done with a bagel in a 6-4 6-0 victory.

It was Barbora Krejcikova, the eventual winner, who brought an end to Gauff’s run to the last eight 12 months ago and while there is still a long way to go in Paris, the teenager is drawing confidence from Emma Raducana’s stunning success at Flushing Meadows last summer.

“I’m thinking, especially if the US Open taught us anything, that anybody can win on any day,” Gauff said after beating Mertens.

“I think all players should really go into the match thinking about that.”

She will face fellow American Sloane Stephens in the quarter-finals, with the 29-year-old defying her recent form to make it this far at Roland Garros.

Stephens arrived in Paris with just one win since February and on a four-match losing streak, but at a Grand Slam she reached the final in four years ago she has suddenly found something approaching her best tennis.

Jil Teichmann has been impressive in recent weeks on the clay but Stephens blew her away in a 6-2 6-0 victory and the 2017 US Open champion will be eyeing up a deep run in a wide-open bottom-half of the draw.

She has faced Gauff just one before, in the second round at Flushing Meadows last year, when Stephens came through in straight sets.

Leylah Fernandez, beaten by Raducanu in that New York final, joins the two Americans in the last eight after she battled past Amanda Anisimova to win 6-4 3-6 6-4. The Canadian was a junior champion at Roland Garros three years ago.

It’s a tough test ahead for Fernandez in the quarter-finals against Martina Trevisan, who won the Morocco Open just a week ago. The Italian knocked Brit Harriet Dart out in the first round in Paris and is yet to drop a set in the tournament.

Whoever makes it through to the final out of those in the bottom-half of the draw will be expecting to see Iga Swiatek on the other side of the net.

The world number one has now won 31 matches in a row and continues her bid for a second French Open title when she faces teenager Qinwen Zheng in the fourth round on Monday.

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