Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships: Coco Gauff to meet world No 1 Iga Swiatek in semi-finals

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Coco Gauff set up a semi-final meeting with world No 1 Iga Swiatek after beating fellow American Madison Keys at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Gauff beat her compatriot 6-2 7-5 in their quarter-final clash to reach her third semi-final at WTA 1000 level or above.

A shaky start from Keys saw Gauff dominate the first set but the world No 23 challenged well in the second and was leading at 5-4, but a poor game meant the 18-year-old was able to pull away as Keys finished with 51 unenforced errors.

Iga Swiatek has already won in Qatar and now she has set her sights on claiming the Dubai title after a blistering start to 2023

Gauff will now face Swiatek in the final four, with the top seed handed a walkover after opponent Karolina Pliskova was ruled out due to illness.

This will be the sixth time the pair have met, including in last year’s Roland Garros final, and Gauff is yet to win a set in their last five encounters.

Ahead of facing Swiatek, Gauff said: “All five times, I did something wrong! To be honest, she’s playing great tennis and there’s a reason she’s world No 1.

“I have no pressure. I just have to play my game – I definitely think I’ve gotten better since the last time I played her.

“Ranking is just a number at the end of the day. You just have to step on the court believing you can win, and that’s what I’m going to do.”

Aryna Sabalenka reacts after losing a ball against Czech Republic's Barbora Krejcikova during their quarter final match of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Thursday, Feb 23, 2023. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
Aryna Sabalenka saw her unbeaten start to the year ended by Barbora Krejcikova

Czech Barbora Krejcikova came back from a set and a break down to pull off a stunning 0-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-1 win over Aryna Sabalenka and end her 13-0 start to the year.

“I was just fighting,” Krejcikova said. “There’s not really much you can change because she plays well, she serves well, she hits really hard.

“I was just trying to get to her pace, just try to, I don’t know, maybe be a little more aggressive because otherwise it’s difficult to do something else.”

Krejcikova’s stunning comeback

Barbora Krejcikova became the first player to win a WTA 1000 quarter-final after having lost the opening set with a 6-0 scoreline since Timea Bacsinszky in Beijing 2015 against Sara Errani.

Krejcikova will face Jessica Pegula in the semi-finals with the American advancing when Karolina Muchova withdrew due to an abdominal injury.

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