World No 1 Iga Swiatek maintained her unbeaten record against Coco Gauff to reach the semi-finals of the French Open on Wednesday.
The pair had met in the final 12 months ago, with Gauff winning just four games, and the American had not won a set in their six previous clashes.
The statistic remains, although Gauff at least pushed the top seed in a 6-4 6-2 defeat, and will feel she might have done better.
Swiatek has lost only 15 games in five matches, and she said: “I haven’t spent much time on court so I’m happy that today was a tighter match.”
Gauff came out with different tactics to last year’s final, testing Swiatek with high, slower balls to her backhand and trying not to allow the top seed to get into a rhythm.
It worked well to a point, with Gauff quickly retrieving an early break, but Swiatek stepped up her level to clinch the set with a brilliant returning game.
Gauff’s big opportunity came in the third game of the second set when she created three break points – the third after drilling a point-blank backhand at Swiatek at the net, sending the Pole tumbling to the clay as she tried to avoid it.
The 19-year-old American swiftly apologised, but it was Swiatek who had the last laugh as the American fired shots long on each of her opportunities.
And that would prove to be the last opening, with the two-time champion winning four games in a row to book her spot in the last four once again.
Glutton for Roland Garros semi-finals
Only Chris Evert (5/5) and Monica Seles (4/5) have made more semi-finals at Roland Garros in her first five main draw appearances at the event than Swiatek (three) in the Open Era.
Historic win for Brazil’s Haddad Maia
Beatriz Haddad Maia earlier came from a set down to defeat Ons Jabeur and become the first Brazilian woman to reach the semi-finals at Roland Garros in the open era.
After battling for nearly four hours to beat Sara Sorribes Tormo in the fourth round, the 14th seed again found herself with work to do after losing the opening set to seventh seed Jabeur.
A very tight second went to a tie-break, which Haddad Maia took, and the Brazilian ran away with the decider to win 3-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-1.
Haddad Maia, 27, looked utterly stunned at the moment of victory, having never previously gone beyond the fourth round at a Grand Slam.
Her results away from the majors have been very impressive, though, and she will hope to follow in the footsteps of Brazilian grand slam champions Gustavo Kuerten and Maria Bueno.
Following in Kuerten’s footsteps…
Beatriz Haddad Maia is the second Brazilian female player in the Open Era to reach a Grand Slam semi-final, after Maria Bueno at the 1968 US Open. Haddad Maia is the first Brazilian male or female to reach a Grand Slam semi-final since Gustavo Kuerten at Roland Garros in 2001.
“This is tennis, we work all year long to be in these moments,” said Haddad Maia. “I had to be patient, I had to keep doing the shots, because as you said she’s a pretty good player, she’s one of the best players in the world, so I’m pretty happy and proud of me and my team today.”
Despite defeat, Jabeur has set her sights on her next goal – winning Wimbledon.
“I’m hoping to go and get the title really in Wimbledon,” said Jabeur, who will kick off her grass season with tournaments in Berlin and Eastbourne. “I’m dreaming about it. It’s something that I always wanted.”
“Last year was unfortunate because I was very close,” she said. “When I put something in my mind, I know I can do it, so it’s definitely here. Grass season already started in my head.”