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Coco Gauff, Iga Swiatek to clash in Beijing semifinals

No. 2 seed Iga Swiatek of Poland and No. 3 Coco Gauff will meet in the semifinals of the China Open in Beijing.

Swiatek rallied for a 6-7 (8), 7-6 (5), 6-1 win over No. 9 Caroline Garcia of France on Friday in 2 hours, 35 minutes.

Gauff extended her winning streak to 16 matches with a 6-2, 6-4 defeat of No. 6 Maria Sakkari of Greece.

No. 5 Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan meets unseeded Russian Liudmila Samsonova in the other semifinal.

Rybakina knocked off World No. 1 Aryna Sabalenka of Russia 7-5, 6-2 and Samsonova breezed to a 6-3, 6-2 defeat of No. 13 Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia in Friday’s quarterfinals.

Swiatek had the toughest trip to the final four, trailing 6-5 in the second set after losing the opening-set tiebreak. She held serve to force another tiebreak and fought her way to victory.

Garcia, the 2017 Beijing champion, hammered 16 aces but faded in the decisive set as Swiatek advanced to her 11th semifinal of the season and her 11th career WWTA 1000 semifinal. She is 7-0 in WTA 1000 hard-court quarterfinals.

“For sure it was really intense,” Swiatek said. “We played really fast. There was no time sometimes to think or analyze. I’m happy I used my intuition a lot.

“For sure a lot of tight moments. In both of these first sets, every ball counted. I’m happy that in the third I could just go for it.”

Gauff needed only 78 minutes to eliminate Sakkari. She finished a balanced effort with 16 winners and 15 unforced errors and never faced a break point.

The U.S. Open champion enters the showdown with Swiatek with a lot of momentum and confidence.

“It was definitely as comfortable as it looked, honestly,” Gauff said. “She’s a tough player. I think she came out with some great shots. But honestly, when I stepped on the court, some days you just feel like no matter what’s going to happen, you’re going to win. It’s nothing to do with the opponent. It’s just like how you’re feeling. That’s how I felt when I stepped on court today.”

Rybakina ousted Sabalenka in 1 hour and 34 minutes, striking 12 aces and converting four of nine break chances against the No. 1 seed. Rybakina improved to 4-0 in her career against top-ranked players, having gone 3-0 versus Swiatek during her tenure at the top.

Samsonova powered past Ostapenko in 66 minutes. She won 91 percent of the points on her first serve (21 of 23) and converted five of eight break chances.

–Field Level Media

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