Italian Open 2021 Semifinals: Coco Gauff vs Iga Swiatek Preview, Head-to-Head, Prediction

Published 05/15/2021, 9:35 AM EDT
Mar 25, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Cori Gauff of the United States hits a forehand against Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia (not pictured) of the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports


Italian Open 2021 has been the tournament of upsets. With the semifinal lineup complete it doesn’t feature any of the top five WTA players, however, some young players have stepped up. The first semifinal sees two teenagers face off in Rome. 17-year-old Coco Gauff will take on 19-year-old and reigning French Open champion Iga Swiatek.

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Iga Swiatek vs Coco Gauff, Italian Open 2021 semifinals, Preview

Because of her French Open triumph, a lot was expected of Swiatek in 2021. Given her first title was the Grand Slam on clay, she came with a promise in the 2021 clay-court season. Before the clay court season, Swiatek was decent. Although being a Grand Slam champ, she was underwhelming in big tournaments such as the Australian Open 2021 and Miami Open.

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Iga Swiatek in action during her quarter-final match against Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

However, in the clay season, the Italian Open is her second tournament. She played the Madrid Open where she lost to World No.1 Ash Barty in the third round. Then coming to Rome, Swiatek has had a good run and looked solid. Her toughest match came against Barbora Krejcikova in the third round. She had to save two match points and dig deep for the win. But Swiatek returned to her best in the quarterfinals to beat Elina Svitolina.

Gauff‘s curve has been upwards since emerging in 2019. Her ranking has soared to make her the youngest in the top 200. And following a run into the semifinals of the Italian Open, she will make her top 30 debut as well. Gauff has done well as a 17-year-old but the expectations are high as many expect her to topple some of the top players on the tour.

In 2021, Gauff has been inconsistent but decent. Her highlights include a semifinal appearance in Adelaide followed by quarterfinal appearances in Charleston and Dubai. Gauff has seen herself lose to players lower ranked than her. In Italy though she has beaten the likes of World No.19 Maria Sakkari and Madrid Open champ Aryna Sabalenka. She came through the quarterfinals after Ash Barty withdrew midway through the match.

Head-to-head

This will be the first meeting between Iga Swiatek and Coco Gauff.

Who could win among Iga Swiatek and Coco Gauff?

Gauff has improved her movement on the clay court, which has helped her recover in the rallies well. But she still has her weakness of double faults. Furthermore, Gauff can implode at times even when she is leading. She still needs to calm her nerves and hang on in the matches. Yet she still posses the firepower to upset anyone.

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Cori Gauff of the U.S. celebrates winning her third round match against Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

Swiatek needs her rhythm. Against Krejcikova, Swiatek was way off from her placement and was close to losing the match. In contrast to that against Svitolina, Swiatek was able to hit long balls near the baseline. If Swiatek defends and dominates from the baseline, it will be difficult for Gauff to keep up with her.

Swiatek is the favorite for the clash. She can easily dominate Gauff if she plays as she played against Svitolina. But having played the quarterfinals today, fatigue might come into play. It might not be a cakewalk for Swiatek, but she should pull through.

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Prediction: Swiatek to win in three sets.

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Bhavishya Mittal

1093 articles

Bhavishya Mittal is a tennis author for EssentiallySports, who is currently pursuing his Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Manipal University. A former sports editor for The Manipal Journal, Bhavishya has also worked for The New Indian Express. He has a keen eye for many sports but he is a particularly ardent follower of tennis, with a zest to create riveting articles on the ever-evolving sport.

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