Gauff 'Was Winning' French Open If Osaka Converted Match Point Against Swiatek Says Gilbert

Gauff 'Was Winning' French Open If Osaka Converted Match Point Against Swiatek Says Gilbert

by Nurein Ahmed

Coco Gauff's coach, Brad Gilbert, recently opined that his pupil would have won last month's Roland Garros had Naomi Osaka cleared her draw by beating Iga Swiatek.

Gauff lost to her nemesis, Iga Swiatek, for the third year in a row at the clay-court major. In fact, the young American's last four defeats in Paris have been to the eventual tournament champion (she also lost to Barbora Krejcikova in 2021).

The 20-year-old's first Grand Slam final was at the French Open two years ago, where she did not drop a set en route to the title match. But she finished second best to the indefatigable Pole, winning only four games in the championship match.

Last year, she was eliminated in the quarterfinal stage in another routine straight-sets loss. This year, there was an indication that Gauff was getting closer to solving the Swiatek riddle when she took the World No. 1 to her limits at the Italian Open, but the writing was on the wall as she lost for the 10th time in the series.

When the draw for this year's Roland Garros was made, all eyes were on the projected semifinal between Swiatek and Gauff. But the matchup almost never happened. In the second round, the four-time champion faced a match point against Naomi Osaka but escaped with the victory.

Looking back on that match, Gauff's coach, Brad Gilbert, told ESPN while commentating at Wimbledon that he was convinced that his charge was bound to win the tournament had Swiatek lost to the Japanese.

"Let me tell you if Naomi wins that match point against Iga (Swiatek) at Roland Garros, Coco (Gauff) was winning that tournament."

That was the closest Swiatek came to losing in the tournament, but she prevailed in three sets. She did not relinquish another set and only lost 19 games for the remainder of the tournament. This claim underpins Gauff's psychological barrier when playing Swiatek.


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