Swiatek benefits from double bounce no-call; into French semifinals | Loop Jamaica

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PARIS (AP) — Jessica Pegula reached the French Open quarterfinals before running into can’t-seem-to-lose Iga Swiatek on Wednesday. And four months ago, at the year’s first Grand Slam tournament, Pegula reached the Australian Open quarterfinals before running into eventual champion Ash Barty.

Two majors, two strong runs, two meetings with the No. 1 player at the time. So Pegula, a 28-year-old from New York, can offer a bit of a unique perspective on what it’s like to face both Swiatek and Barty, who retired in March at age 25.

Swiatek, who replaced Barty atop the WTA rankings, benefited from the chair umpire’s no-call on a double bounce that gave her a first-set service break during a key five-game run and moved into the semifinals at Roland Garros by beating Pegula 6-3, 6-2 to extend her winning streak to 33 matches.

Swiatek’s run is the longest on tour since Serena Williams won 34 in a row in 2013.

“To be honest, she kind of plays like a guy. And, I mean that as, Ash was a similar way, where they don’t play like a typical girl where they hit kind of flat and the ball kind of goes through the court. She plays a little more unorthodox in the fact that she has, like, a really heavy forehand,” Pegula said about Swiatek, “but at the same time she also likes to step in and take it really early, and I think clay gives her more time, and I think it makes her forehand even harder to deal with.”

Swiatek plays No. 20 Daria Kasatkina in one women’s semifinal Thursday, when the other will be No. 18 Coco Gauff, an 18-year-old American, against unseeded Martina Trevisan, a 28-year-old from Italy.

Gauff and her partner, Pegula, are also into the semifinals in women’s doubles.

Of the last four women in singles, only Swiatek has previously participated in the semifinals of a major tournament, losing at that stage at the Australian Open in January and taking the title at the 2020 French Open when she was ranked outside the top 50.

“This year it’s a little bit different, because I’m not an underdog,” she said, “and everything has changed, honestly.”

Kasatkina beat No. 29 Veronika Kudermetova 6-4, 7-6 (5) in a match between two Russian players who will not be allowed to compete at Wimbledon later this month because of that country’s invasion of Ukraine. They combined for 75 unforced errors, 50 by Kudermetova.

“It was a roller coaster,” said Kasatkina, who hadn’t reached a major quarterfinal in four years.

In the men’s quarterfinals Wednesday, 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic got to the French Open semifinals for the first time by hitting 33 aces to defeat No. 7 Andrey Rublev 5-7, 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (10-2) in 4 hours, 10 minutes.

The 20th-seeded Cilic, who is 33, now takes on Casper Ruud, 23, or Holger Rune, 19, on Friday for a berth in the final.

A day after her 21st birthday, Swiatek was not at her dominant best against the 11th-seeded Pegula, whose parents own the NFL’s Buffalo Bills and NHL’s Buffalo Sabres. As usual for most of this season, Swiatek was good enough to end up on the right side of the scoreline. She has not lost a match since February, winning her past five tournaments.