Rolling On Croissants, Coco Gauff Is On To The French Open Quarters For Third Year In A Row
by Stuart Lieberman
Coco Gauff celebrates winning match point during the women's singles third round at the 2023 French Open on June 03, 2023 in Paris.
Nothing marks the start of summer like the sight of the bright orange courts at Roland-Garros, and American Coco Gauff continued her hot start to the summer’s first Grand Slam with another win on Monday.
Though still not yet 20 years old, the Florida native is now headed to the French Open quarterfinals for the third consecutive year after a decisive 7-5, 6-2 victory over Slovakia’s Anna Karolína Schmiedlova. Gauff, who reached her first Grand Slam singles final in Paris last year, is the lone American remaining in either the men’s or women’s singles draws, and she’s one of a handful remaining on the doubles side – even if the details are a little fuzzy after a week in the French capital.
“I think I might have doubles tomorrow,” Gauff told reporters after her fourth-round victory. “I don’t need any days off, so I’m going to play doubles tomorrow. I’ve been playing card games a lot and eating croissants.
“The other day I was eating breakfast and I had a chocolate cake thing, and my agent was like, ‘Why are you eating chocolate cake for breakfast?’ And was like, ‘We’re in Paris, who cares?’”
Over the first four rounds, Gauff, who turned 19 in March, overcame a skinned knee and two come-from-behind victories. She is looking to become the first American to win a major singles title since Sofia Kenin did so at the 2020 Australian Open; it’s currently the longest singles title drought for Americans at a Grand Slam since 1877, according to NBC Sports.
Gauff will now have to get past world No. 1 Iga Swiatek of Poland in a rematch of last year’s French Open final to get there. Swiatek has won all 12 sets she’s played against Gauff in her career.
Gauff is also still alive in the women’s doubles bracket, having reached Tuesday’s quarterfinals alongside partner Jessica Pegula.
Sloane Stephens and Bernarda Pera also advanced to the women’s singles round of 16 before falling to their opponents on clay. An unseeded Stephens, who upset No. 16 seed Karolina Pliskova of Czechia in the first round, made the fourth round for the ninth time in her career but was unable to capitalize against No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka. She fell in straight sets, 7-6(5), 6-4, on Monday. Pera also pulled an early upset, downing No. 22 Donna Vekic of Croatia in straight sets in Round 2, but ultimately was put to a halt by U.S. Open finalist Ons Jabeur of Tunisia, the No. 7 seed, in the fourth round by a score of 6-3, 6-1.
Frances Tiafoe plays a backhand during the men's singles third round of the 2023 French Open on June 03, 2023 in Paris.
In the men’s singles draw, a trio of Americans — No. 9 Taylor Fritz, No. 12 Frances Tiafoe and unseeded Marcos Giron — all won their first two matches before bowing out in the third round, leaving none of the 16 U.S. men in the bracket left in the field. It is the second consecutive year that no American men have advanced to the fourth round.
Tiafoe had broken through the mainstream media last September as a surprise semifinalist at the U.S. Open. Celebrity stars, including Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Queen Latifah showed up in Paris to view his matches before he ultimately fell to Germany’s Alexander Zverev in four sets in the third round.
“For the majority of the match, I felt like I was in control. It’s just tough. I should be playing the fifth right now,” Tiafoe told reporters after losing to Zverev, 3-6, 7-6(3), 6-1, 7-6(5).
Elsewhere in the third round, Fritz lost to Argentina’s No. 23 Francisco Cerundolo in four sets, while Giron was eliminated by Chile’s Nicolas Jarry in four sets.
In doubles action, Gauff and Pegula have advanced to the quarterfinals as the No. 2 seeds, as have Americans Nicole Melichar-Martinez (partnered with Australia’s Ellen Perez) and Taylor Townsend (partnered with Canada’s Leylah Fernandez). All of them will play their doubles quarterfinal matches on Tuesday.
Austin Krajicek (partnered with Croatia’s Ivan Dodig) is the lone American standing in the men’s doubles bracket as the No. 4 seed. The Tokyo Olympic semifinalist made a championship run with Dodig in Paris last year before losing in the final. His quarterfinal match is scheduled for Tuesday.
Nathaniel Lammons, playing with Canada’s Gabriela Dabrowski, has reached the mixed doubles semifinals.
The wheelchair tournament will begin in Paris on Tuesday as well, with David Wagner, Dana Mathewson and Casey Ratzlaff tabbed as the top Americans to watch. Wagner, playing in the quad wheelchair singles division, is an eight-time Paralympic medalist who won a French Open singles title in 2019 and doubles titles in 2019, 2020 and 2021. Mathewson is a two-time Paralympian still in search of her first singles finals appearance at a Grand Slam, having won the Wimbledon doubles title last year. Ratzlaff, a Tokyo Paralympian, is a rising star at 24 years old, having climbed into the top-15 ranked players in the world this year.
Stuart Lieberman has covered Paralympic sports for more than 10 years, including for the International Paralympic Committee at the London 2012, Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018 Games. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.