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Coco Gauff has stormed into the Italian Open semi-finals, but the road to victory poses a daunting obstacle as she prepares to face Iga Swiatek. Despite the third-ranked player’s drive to win her first match against the Pole, retired American player Andy Roddick recently highlighted a key element that might undermine the young American’s chances against the four-time Grand Slam champion.

Seeing as how the World No. 1 is coming off a Madrid Open victory after defeating 2x champ and World No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka, anyone would be wary of Swiatek on clay. The Pole is also a 2x winner in Rome and has a significant advantage over Gauff, who may be strong on clay but her serve has been causing trouble as of late. And while Andy Roddick has coached her briefly before, even he’s not certain Gauff can overcome her troubles just yet.

In a conversation with Tennis Channel, the 41-year-old American tennis legend recently opened up about how Gauff’s serve can create a hurdle for her against Swiatek. Roddick stated, “I certainly wouldn’t bet against Iga on Clay against anyone. At this moment the ask is difficult right because Coco is gonna have to produce on her serve, right?”

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Not only that, he also emphasized how, in the quiet final round against Chinese Qinwen Zheng, the serve strategy was better than before. But at the same time, against Swiatek, she has to buckle up and take care of her serves, giving no further opportunity to her opponent.

Further, he added, “She’s not going to be able to just roll those second serves in aim for the middle of the box, hope that it goes in and she’s not going to be able to serve 37% right her first serve looked great in her last match against Zheng. Coco sneaky been hitting her forehand about about as well as I’ve seen but it’s going to depend on the second serve.”

Moreover, Roddick also highlighted that even though it’s a tough task to get over, at the same time, Gauff has to level up her risk-up profile update on the second serve, to hold point against the Polish player. Even though Swiatek has continued to dominate, the young American player is prepared with her game plan to win against the world no. 1 for the first time.

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Before their anticipated match at the Italian Open, Gauff jokingly avoided discussing her strategy against Iga Swiatek when questioned about it.

Gauff avoids strategy revealing against Swiatek

The American sensation, who has fallen short in nine of her 10 games against the Pole, was questioned in an on-court interview about what she would do differently this time to win. “I can’t tell you,” she sneakily said, sidestepping the topic of the world’s top player.

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However, she acknowledged, “She is a tough opponent to play, especially on clay. There’s a reason why she’s No. 1. But I feel like I’m getting better with each match. I’m really excited to play the semifinal in two days.” In addition, the US Open champion not only praised the four-time Grand Slam champion but also recognized her as a formidable competitor on clay, citing her WTA ranking as evidence.

Nevertheless, what do you think about the upcoming clash between Gauff and Swiatek? Do let us know in the comment section below.