BEIJING (AP) — Second-ranked Iga Swiatek ended Coco Gauff’s 16-match winning streak as she advanced to the China Open final with a dominant 6-2, 6-3 victory over the U.S. Open champion on Saturday.
It was the 19-year-old Gauff’s first loss since the quarterfinals in Montreal, a span that included titles in Cincinnati and at Flushing Meadows.
Swiatek will meet No.22-ranked Liudmila Samsonova in Sunday’s final, after the Russian ousted fifth-seeded Elena Rybakina 7-6 (7), 6-3.
The Polish player made just four unforced errors in the first set, keeping consistent pressure on Gauff’s serve, and made a decisive break at 3-1 to ease through the set in 40 minutes.
Swiatek maintained her vice-like grip on the match, breaking Gauff at the start of the second set to lead 2-0.
A medical timeout to have Gauff’s right shoulder assessed didn’t break Swiatek’s momentum as she closed it out to extend her head-to-head record against her rival to 8-1.
“I’m really happy with my performance,” Swiatek said. “It feels like I can play freely again, so I’m really happy. It’s been a while since I felt that way. So, I’ll remember for the rest of my career that even though tougher times may come, in your mind, you can always overcome that. And with hard work, you can achieve it.”
Samsonova blazed her way to a second WTA 1000 final this year with a straight-sets win as she remained unbeaten against Rybakina in four meetings.
The Russian player made the first break to lead 5-4, but immediately surrended the advantage as the first set went to a tiebreak. Samsonova finally clinched the set at her third opportunity.
Samsonova, who hit 33 winners, then made the decisive break in the second set to go up 5-4 and then served out the win in 1 hour 40 minutes.
Top-seeded Carlos Alcaraz beat Gregoire Barrere 6-2, 7-5 in the second round of the Shanghai Masters.
Alcaraz made a fast start against the 73rd-ranked Frenchman, racing to a 4-0 lead in a comfortable first set for the Spaniard.
Barrere responded in a tighter second but Alcaraz forced a break to take a 6-5 lead and then coolly served out the win.
Alcaraz next meets 30th-seeded Daniel Evans or qualifier Mikhail Kukushkin.
In his first appearance in Shanghai since winning the title in 2019, Daniil Medvedev was ruthless as he overpowered 98th-ranked Cristian Garin 6-3, 6-3 for his 60th win of the season.
“I’m going to try my best, I’m going to try to play more good matches in the tournaments I have left this season,” the third-ranked Medvedev said about his prospects of passing his 2021 record of 63 wins in a season.
The Russian player can claim a 61st victory against 26th-seeded Sebastian Korda in the third round.
Fourth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas beat qualifier Rinky Hijikata 6-4, 6-2 and 12th-seeded Tommy Paul advanced with a 6-3, 6-0 win over Sebastian Ofner.
Sixth-seeded Jannik Sinner, fresh from his China Open final win, had a 7-6 (7), 6-2 victory over Marcos Giron. The Italian player’s third-round opponent will be 25th-seeded Sebastian Baez.
Other winners included 22nd-seeded Nicolas Jarry and Matteo Arnaldi before a rain delay suspended matches on the outside courts until Sunday.
AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis