Coco Gauff’s 16-match winning streak ends at China Open

BEIJING (AP) — Second-ranked Iga Swiatek ended Coco Gauff’s 16-match winning streak as she advanced to the China Open final with a dominant 6-2, 6-3 victory over the U.S. Open champion on Saturday.

It was the 19-year-old Gauff’s first loss since the quarterfinals in Montreal, a span that included titles in Cincinnati and at Flushing Meadows.

Swiatek will meet No.22-ranked Liudmila Samsonova in Sunday’s final, after the Russian ousted fifth-seeded Elena Rybakina 7-6 (7), 6-3.

Coco Gauff of the United States returns shot to Iga Swiatek of Poland during the women’s singles semifinal match in the China Open tennis tournament at the Diamond Court in Beijing, Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

The Polish player made just four unforced errors in the first set, keeping consistent pressure on Gauff’s serve, and made a decisive break at 3-1 to ease through the set in 40 minutes.

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Swiatek maintained her vice-like grip on the match, breaking Gauff at the start of the second set to lead 2-0.

A medical timeout to have Gauff’s right shoulder assessed didn’t break Swiatek’s momentum as she closed it out to extend her head-to-head record against her rival to 8-1.

“I’m really happy with my performance,” Swiatek said. “It feels like I can play freely again, so I’m really happy. It’s been a while since I felt that way. So, I’ll remember for the rest of my career that even though tougher times may come, in your mind, you can always overcome that. And with hard work, you can achieve it.”

Samsonova blazed her way to a second WTA 1000 final this year with a straight-sets win as she remained unbeaten against Rybakina in four meetings.

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The Russian player made the first break to lead 5-4, but immediately surrended the advantage as the first set went to a tiebreak. Samsonova finally clinched the set at her third opportunity.

Samsonova, who hit 33 winners, then made the decisive break in the second set to go up 5-4 and then served out the win in 1 hour 40 minutes.

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