2022 – Coco Gauff in the French Open semi-finals after defeating Sloane Stephens | French Open 2022

For most of the past year, one of Coco Gauff’s clearest goals has been to grow and advance at its own pace, no matter how long it takes, ignoring all the hype and expectations that many others have about it. But Gauff is still 18, had a week out of high school and entered her first Grand Slam semi-final at the French Open on Tuesday.

Gauff has put in a solid performance under tremendous pressure at the Grand Slam, and was too solid for her friend and compatriot Sloane Stephens, who won 7-5, 6-2, to advance. She will have a massive opportunity when she meets Italy’s unseeded Martina Trevisan, who beat Leila Fernandez 6-2 6-7 (3) 6-3 as the Canadian suffered an injury to her right foot.

Gough and Stevens are back. When Goff emerged as a phenomenon and was surrounded by hype, Stevens watched her grow from a precocious eight-year-old girl into an experienced adult with wanderlust. I’ve been to some Gauff’s birthday parties and they know each other’s families well. Here, in the French Open quarter-finals, they played a lot on the streak.

The match pitted two of the game’s best athletes against each other, but Gough outperformed Stevens in several long rallies, staying strong as each tried to find a way through the other’s defenses. She served well when it was needed most, and effectively put Stevens forward with regular shots, demonstrating the versatility that has become an essential part of her game.

Above all, Goff hit her forehand better than any of her big matches. During her younger career, Gauve’s forehand became a huge target for any player looking to fuel their elaborate swing with depth and speed, but it was Gauff who often pushed Stevens back with her powerful overhead spin while constantly trying to score points that dictated and finish.

Martina Trevisan gleefully threw her racket away after defeating Leila Fernandez. Photo: Ryan Percy/Getty Images

Around this time last year, Gauff reached the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time in Paris, where she faced eventual champion Barbora Krejsikova. In the first set, Jove had her chances, holding so many set points that she failed to convert before mentally regressing. Several times this week, Gauff has cited this match as one of the most important steps in her growth, saying she’s learned not to panic in those moments.

In a tense second set that included several matches close to serve, a long break after spectator illness and two double faults when she didn’t finish the match 5-1, Gough took those lessons seriously and stayed consistent throughout her rocking period. Pressure to continue her run through the draw without losing a set.

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In her subsequent court interview, Gauff is questioned by former champ Mats Wellander about the fuss that has haunted her since childhood. Her answer reflects the perspective she gained during his three years at the helm.

“Obviously, I believe in myself,” she said. “Up until last year, I think I was very focused on trying to live up to other people’s expectations of me. Just enjoy life. No matter how good or bad my career is, I think I’m a great person and this is a message to all the young players. Your results, your job or how much money you make doesn’t define you.” As a person. As long as you love yourself, who cares what other people think?โ€