Amanda Anisimova celebrated the "most special day" of her career after her long game came to the fore once again when beating Coco Gauff.

Anisimova came from a set down to beat her compatriot 6-7 (4-7) 6-2 6-1 on Centre Court at Wimbledon.

The American world number 25 has now won 12 matches in three sets in 2022, which is the joint-highest tally on the WTA Tour so far this season, level with Beatriz Haddad Maia.

"It was my first time playing on Centre Court and this is the most special day of my career," the 20-year-old told BBC Sport following her success over this year's French Open runner-up.

"It's just a huge privilege to play on this court playing Coco. She is an amazing player, got to the final of a grand slam, so I wanted to soak up the moment. Winning is so special, especially in front of a full crowd.

"There are so many American players doing well and I'm proud of my country and how we have been doing. It was really exciting to have an all-American clash on this court so it was really special."

Next up for Anisimova in the round of 16 is Harmony Tan, who has been one of the standout stories from the first week at The All England Club.

Tan defeated Serena Williams in the first round, following that triumph up with wins over Sara Sorribes Tormo and Katie Boulter.

When Wimbledon ended last year, there were two great takeaways from the tournament: Novak Djokovic would soon be pulling away in the grand slam title race and Ash Barty was beginning a new era of dominance.

Both seemed to be knock-ins, and yet neither has come to pass. Djokovic missed out on a calendar Grand Slam in New York before being banished from Australia, and despite drawing level with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer on 20 grand slams with his Centre Court triumph, he now finds himself two adrift of the Spaniard again.

Barty, meanwhile, has left her own party. The then world number one stunned the tennis world by retiring in March, having added the Australian Open she so craved to her trophy cabinet.

Djokovic and Iga Swiatek head into Wimbledon, which begins on Monday, as the top seeds.

Stats Perform has used Opta facts to consider what the men's and women's singles might deliver.

 

KING ROGER'S REIGN IS OVER, BUT DJOKOVIC AND NADAL KEEP GOING STRONG

There will come a time when the Wimbledon favourite is not one of the 'Big Three'. That time is not now.

Djokovic is the man most likely, as he targets his fourth straight Wimbledon title and seventh overall; since 2011, when he beat Nadal in the final, the Serbian has only been absent from the trophy match three times (in 2012, 2016 and 2017).

His winning run of 21 matches at Wimbledon is the fifth-longest in the men's singles. Bjorn Borg holds the record (41 between 1976 and 1981).

The last player other than Djokovic, Nadal, Federer and Andy Murray to win the Wimbledon men's title was Lleyton Hewitt in 2002. Federer is absent this year and may have played his last Wimbledon.

Nadal has won Wimbledon twice, in 2008 and 2010. He won the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open in 2010, the only season of his career when he has won three slams. This year, at the age of 36, he has the Australian and French Open trophies already locked away, potentially halfway to a calendar Grand Slam, last achieved in men's singles in 1969 by Rod Laver.

Should Nadal pull off another major coup, it would make him only the second man in the Open Era (from 1968) to win the season's first three singles slams, after Laver in 1969 and Djokovic last year.

Can the rest hope to compete?

What of Murray? Well, only Federer (19), Sampras (10), Laver and Jimmy Connors (both nine) have won more ATP titles on grass than the Scot in the Open Era. If he recovers from an abdominal strain, he has a shot at reaching the second week. He will of course have the full backing of the Wimbledon crowd.

Last year's runner-up Matteo Berrettini is fancied more than Nadal by many, having won Stuttgart and Queen's Club titles in the build-up.

There has not been an American men's singles champion since 2000, and although the United States has six players seeded, more than any other nation, it seems a safe enough assumption we will be saying a similar thing again in 12 months' time.

Third seed Casper Ruud has never won a singles match at Wimbledon, while fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas has not had a win since reaching the fourth round in 2018. Daniil Medvedev, the world number one, cannot compete at The All England Club after their contentious decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

IF SERENA CAN'T CHALLENGE SWIATEK, WHO CAN?

From the jaws of retirement, Serena Williams is back. Silence from the 40-year-old about her intentions had become almost deafening, and yet here she is, back at Wimbledon on a wildcard, hoping to rekindle the old magic.

Because she has pushed back against the doubters for over two decades now, you have to take this seriously. Her haul of 23 grand slams is one short of Margaret Court's all-time record and Williams would dearly love to at least match it.

Three years ago, Williams became the oldest player to reach Wimbledon's women's singles final when she lost to Simona Halep. Six years ago, she was the oldest champion when she beat Angelique Kerber.

Only four women in the draw this year besides Williams have been champion before: Petra Kvitova (in 2011 and 2014), Garbine Muguruza (in 2017), Kerber (in 2018) and Halep (in 2019).

World number one Iga Swiatek starts as favourite. Junior Wimbledon champion four years ago, she has scooped two women's French Open titles since then and is on a 35-match winning streak.

After triumphing at Roland Garros in early June, Swiatek will hope to become the first woman since Kerber in 2016 (Australian Open and US Open) to win two singles slams in the same season.

The only competitive warm-up for Williams came in two doubles matches at Eastbourne, having not played since sustaining a hamstring injury at Wimbledon last year. The seven-time champion might consider it a challenge that there has never been an unseeded Wimbledon women's singles finalist during the Open Era.

The women's top two seeds have not met in the final since Serena faced her sister Venus in the 2002 title match, so don't hold your breath for a Swiatek versus Anett Kontaveit showpiece on July 9.

Could Gauff be best of the rest?

Coco Gauff made a breakthrough with her run to the French Open final. Although she was blown away by Swiatek, for the 18-year-old American it was another mark of progress. Gauff reached the fourth round in Wimbledon in 2019 (lost to Halep) and 2021 (lost to Kerber).

Fitness is likely to be the key factor in how US Open champion Emma Raducanu fares at her home grand slam, given her injury problems. Raducanu reached the fourth round on a wildcard last year and the 19-year-old will attempt to become the first British woman to reach that stage in back-to-back seasons since Jo Durie (1984, 1985).

Ons Jabeur, meanwhile, should not be discounted. The world number three reached the quarter-finals at SW19 last year and heads to Wimbledon having won on grass at the Berlin Open, albeit Belinda Bencic had retired hurt in the final.

The likes of Gauff, Raducanu and 21-year-old Swiatek will attempt to become the youngest woman to lift the trophy since 17-year-old Maria Sharapova triumphed in 2004.

A first-round exit for Swiatek would leave the event wide open, but don't count on it. In the Open Era, only three times has the top-seeded woman lost in round one: Steffi Graf in 1994 and Martina Hingis in 1999 and 2001.

Coco Gauff is relaxed and full of confidence heading into Wimbledon, three years after bursting onto the scene at the All England Club.

Gauff made history as a 15-year-old at Wimbledon in 2019, when she became the youngest player to reach the main draw in the Open Era.

The American stunned five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams in straight sets in her main draw debut, and reached the fourth round, where she was defeated by eventual champion Simona Halep.

She enters this year's tournament brimming with confidence after reaching her first Grand Slam singles final earlier in June, having lost to Iga Swiatek in a French Open showdown.

"Honestly, I feel like I'm a lot more relaxed than when I was considered the sensation or whatever," Gauff told a news conference.

"I mean, I did well, wasn't expecting to, but it felt like everybody wanted the results to happen now, now, now. I feel like I learned so much not to put pressure on now, now, now.

"This time around, even though I’m considered a favourite, I don't feel like it as much as I did when I was 15 or even 16."

A year ago at Wimbledon, Gauff again reached the fourth round, where she was ousted by Angelique Kerber, but she enters play this time around with her highest world ranking at number 12 after an outstanding performance at Roland Garros, where she reached the final of both the singles and doubles.

"Definitely a lot of positives to take from it, that I can play two weeks of high, competitive tennis in two events," Gauff explained.

"I would have never thought I would have made the final of both events. I learned a lot from that final. I’m going to take what I learned to here. Hopefully I go far.

"But it was definitely the experience of a lifetime, and hopefully I can recreate it."

Gauff followed up her run in Paris with another encouraging showing in a grass-court warm-up at the Berlin Open, where the 18-year-old lost to Ons Jabeur in the semi-finals.

It marked another milestone for Gauff, who had previously never advanced to a quarter-final on grass.

Ons Jabeur kept Coco Gauff waiting for a top 10 debut as the Tunisian battled past her teenage opponent to reach the Berlin Open final.

Gauff would have secured a career-high ranking on the WTA list if she had won Saturday's semi-final, but top seed Jabeur took it 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 to earn a shot at Belinda Bencic in the title match.

Only world number one Iga Swiatek has won more matches on the WTA Tour than fourth-ranked Jabeur this year, who collected a 29th win as she overcame a 3-1 career head-to-head deficit against Gauff to earn the victory.

Gauff, at 18 years and 98 days, would have become the youngest American to reach a grass-court singles final on tour since Andrea Jaeger was runner-up to Martina Navratilova at Wimbledon in 1983.

It was not to be her day though, Jabeur breaking serve for the fourth time in the match to seal victory, encouraged by a large and vocal Tunisian following.

Reflecting on the match, Jabeur said: "When you play Coco you have to have all the shots. She's a talented player; she's very tough to beat. You can see I've lost already three times against her.

"Sometimes she takes it, sometimes I take it, and it was a great match for both of us."

This is just the second WTA tournament where 27-year-old Jabeur has been a top seed.

"I've tried to act like a number one seed on and off the court, and it's a good pressure," she added. "I'm trying to handle it very well and with the support of our Tunisian people here it's great."

Olympic gold medallist Bencic had earlier claimed an impressive 6-7 (6-8) 6-4 6-4 win over Greek second seed Maria Sakkari in the first semi-final.

Jabeur was bettered by Bencic in a hard-fought Charleston final in April, but is determined to secure a different outcome this time.

"I'm definitely going for the final revenge because we played each other at Charleston, and it was a very, very tough match," Jabeur said. "I hope she's tired from today's match."

Rain meant there was no play at the Birmingham Classic on Saturday, with the semi-finals set back to Sunday.

Beatriz Haddad Maia will face 2019 Wimbledon champion Simona Halep, while Zhang Shuai tackles Sorana Cirstea.

Coco Gauff reached the first grass-court semi-final of her career by beating Karolina Pliskova at the Berlin Open, teeing up a clash with top seed Ons Jabeur.

Having already recorded her best tour-level run on grass by reaching the final eight, Gauff recorded a superb 7-5 6-4 win over two-time grand slam finalist Pliskova.

Gauff – who reached her first grand slam final at Roland Garros last month, saved four set points in the opener before roaring to victory in one hour and 37 minutes, and was delighted to have overcome a tough opponent in the world number seven.

"I'm super happy with how I played today," Gauff said on court after the win. "Playing her on grass, with her serve, how flat she hits the ball, it was really tough to be honest. 

"A first semi-final on grass is pretty cool, and also I feel like the opponents I've played this week haven’t been easy, especially today, so I'm proud of myself about that."

Gauff will face Jabeur for a spot in the final after the Tunisian fought back from one set down in a 6-7 (3-7) 6-2 6-2 win over Aliaksandra Sasnovich, who entered the contest having won 26 matches during an impressive year.

The other semi-final will see Maria Sakkari face Belinda Bencic, after the world number six cruised to a 6-0 6-3 win over Daria Kasatkina and Bencic beat Veronika Kudermetova 3-6 6-3 6-3.

In the Birmingham Classic, meanwhile, Simona Halep raced to a 6-4 6-1 win over Katie Boulter to reach the final four, but third seed Camila Giorgi fell to a 6-3 6-2 loss to Brazil's Beatriz Haddad Maia, who has now won eight consecutive games on grass.

While that pair will face off in one of Saturday's semi-finals, eighth seed Zhang Shuai will face Sorana Cirstea in the other. Zhang overcame Dayana Yastremska 7-5 6-4 and sixth seed Cirstea beat Donna Vekic 5-7 6-3 6-4.

Ons Jabeur held off qualifier Alycia Parks to reach the quarter-finals of the Berlin Open, saving set point before winning a competitive second-set tie-break to set up a last-eight clash with Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

Jabeur took one hour and 31 minutes to overcome her stubborn opponent in the German capital, with the world number four triumphing 6-2 7-6 (10-8) to reach her eighth quarter-final of 2022 – each of which have been at WTA 500 level or higher.

The Tunisian will face Sasnovich for a semi-final spot next time out, with the Belarusian having won 26 matches so far this year (including qualifying draws). Only Iga Swiatek (42) and Beatriz Haddad Maia (29) have more victories so far this season on the WTA Tour.

The other seeds in action in Berlin on Thursday also progressed, with Coco Gauff overcoming Wang Xinyu 6-0 6-4 to tee up a clash with Karolina Pliskova, and Belinda Bencic downing Anna Kalinskaya 6-4 1-6 6-1.

Defending champion Ludmilla Samsonova, however, suffered a 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 6-1 defeat to Veronika Kudermetova.

Meanwhile, the Birmingham Classic's top seed Jelena Ostapenko fell to a surprise 3-6 7-5 7-5 last-16 reverse against Ukraine's Dayana Yastremska, who reached her first ever grass-court quarter-final on the WTA tour.

The world number 79 will face Zhang Shuai for a spot in the final four after she fought her way to a 6-2 2-6 7-5 win over Elena-Gabriela Ruse.

Third seed Camila Giorgi will join them in the last eight after recovering from losing her first set against American Lauren Davis to secure a 3-6 7-5 6-2 win.

Coco Gauff lost her second French Open final of the weekend as the teenager and Jessica Pegula were beaten by Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic in the women's doubles.

Gauff was defeated in straight sets on Saturday by world number one Iga Swiatek in her maiden grand slam final at Roland Garros.

The 18-year-old and her fellow American Pegula started well on Sunday, taking the first set before their French opponents stormed back to win 2-6 6-3 6-2 on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

An early break from Gauff and Pegula gave the number eight seeds the advantage, before another in the seventh game allowed them to serve out the opening set.

However, the experienced Garcia and Mladenovic found several more gears to race out into a 4-0 lead in the second set.

Gauff and Pegula - who was also beaten by Swiatek in the quarter-finals of the singles' event in Paris - came back to 3-4, but were broken again and the French duo grasped the chance to level the match.

The decider was one-sided, with Garcia and Mladenovic again taking a 4-0 lead, before eventually serving out to win as the 2016 champions were able to repeat the trick six years later in front of a delighted home crowd.

Mladenovic has now celebrated four doubles triumphs in her home grand slam - two with Garcia and as many with Timea Babos. This was Garcia's second success.

Iga Swiatek said it was "special" to have produced a longer winning run than Serena Williams and ominously vowed she can take her game to another level after triumphing at the French Open.

The world number one outclassed Coco Gauff on Court Philippe-Chatrier to win her second grand slam title, beating the teenager 6-1 6-3.

Swiatek's victory was her 35th in a row, one more than Williams' best winning streak from 2013, and the Pole is the first player to prevail in nine WTA Tour finals in a row.

Venus Williams is the only other woman since the start of 2000 to have reeled off 35 consecutive victories, while Swiatek and Serena Williams are the only women in the same period to have won six titles in the first six months of a year.

Swiatek expressed her pride at having gone one better than superstar Serena.

She said: "It may seem pretty weird, but having that 35th win and kind of doing something more than Serena did, it's something special.

"Because I always wanted to have some kind of a record. In tennis it's pretty hard after Serena's career. So that really hit me.

"Obviously winning a grand slam too, but this one was pretty special because I felt like I've done something that nobody has ever done, and maybe it's gonna be even more. This one was special."

The two-time French Open champion added: "Before the match, before the tournament, I was like, 'Okay, is it going to be even possible to beat Serena's result?'.

"I realised that I would have to be in a final. I was, like, 'Ah, we will see how the first rounds are going to go'. I didn't even think about that before. But right now I feel like the streak is more important. I kind of confirmed my good shape."

Swiatek has been on another level to her rivals this year but says there is room for improvement.

"For sure," she said. "There is always something to improve, honestly. I'm still not a complete player. Especially, I feel like even on the net I could be more solid.

"This is something that Coco actually has, because I think she started working on that much, much earlier than me. There are many things. I'm not going to tell you, because it may sound like I'm concerned about some stuff."

Coco Gauff responded to a punishing defeat by Iga Swiatek in the French Open final by declaring: "Now I know that's what I have to do."

Blessed with wisdom beyond her years, the 18-year-old Gauff has made powerful statements on police brutality, LGBTQ rights and gun violence in her young life, and at the same time her impressive tennis game has continued to evolve.

On Saturday she contested the first grand slam final of her career and was reduced to tears after a 6-1 6-3 pummelling by Swiatek, who needed just an hour and eight minutes to cross the winning line.

Gauff was still feeling raw when she spoke in a post-match news conference, but she could yet leave Paris as a major champion, given she and fellow American Jessica Pegula face France's Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic in Sunday's doubles final.

At 18 years and 84 days, Gauff was the youngest women's grand slam singles finalist since Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon in 2004, but the 21-year-old Swiatek is a step ahead of her for now.

It has nonetheless been a fortnight of progress from Gauff, who said: "I don't know what my happiest moment has been. Hopefully it will be tomorrow if we can win in doubles. From the singles, obviously winning is the last hurdle, but reaching the final is almost as difficult because you are pretty close."

Mother Candi and father Corey brought along Gauff's younger brothers Codey and Cameron for the biggest moment of Coco's career to date. The clan have been playing cards together in the evening, and Gauff said she was winning in that contest.

The Gauffs watched on as Coco wept in her chair on court while Swiatek celebrated victory in the stands with family and her support team, the champion also sharing a hug with Poland and Bayern Munich footballer Robert Lewandowski.

Gauff reflected on the moment the tears came, saying: "I try really hard not to cry on the court. I feel happy really and sad, so it's like, I don't know how to handle it.

"I hate myself for crying. I have to get drug-tested and I told the lady, 'Do I look like I've been crying for so long?'.

"I don't know whether to smile or cry. Emotionally it's just a lot for me to handle."

But amid the sadness there was defiance, as Gauff said: "Tomorrow I'm going to wake up and be really proud of myself." 

World number one Swiatek extended her remarkable winning sequences to six consecutive titles and 35 match wins, and Gauff said her conqueror, like the now-retired Ash Barty before her, was setting a standard that the rest would have to strive to match.

"Now that I have seen the level, this level of number one and 35 matches, I know that's what I have to do," Gauff said. "I'm sure I'm going to play her in another final, and hopefully it's a different result."

Gauff, whose forehand was erratic, added: "In the match it probably looked like I was freaking out, but really it was just Iga was too good. I wasn't freaking out."

After the doubles final, Gauff will start to think about the grass season and Wimbledon.

She welcomed Swiatek sending a message of support to the people of invasion-hit Ukraine during her on-court victory speech.

"I think using sports as a platform is important," Gauff said. "For me, it's about influencing people and influencing the leaders that are in office and leaders around the world maybe to hear that message."

And as she left Roland Garros for the night, Gauff had wrestled back control of her emotions, having helped her family get over their own sorrow.

"After the match, my little brother was crying and I felt so bad, because I was trying to just tell him, 'It's just a tennis match'," Gauff said.

"I'm pretty happy and outgoing if people know me personally. For them to see me so upset, I think that's what hurt them the most. Tomorrow, or even tonight, we're going to play cards again and we are going to laugh and we are going to be fine."

Behind all the charm that Iga Swiatek brings to tennis, the relatable personality and the culture vulture sensibilities, there lies a ruthless champion.

Swiatek is now a two-time French Open winner, and goodness knows how many more grand slams the 21-year-old might add in the coming years.

The women's tour is not yet officially in a post-Williams era, but if Serena and Venus never play again, the game is surely in safe hands.

A 6-1 6-3 dismantling of Coco Gauff meant Saturday's showpiece was no classic Roland Garros final. Great champions don't care much about classics, though. It's all about getting the W, and stacking those up. Classics are great, but only if you win them.

Nobody in the 2000s has hit on a hotter streak than the one Swiatek is presently living through. This was a sixth consecutive title in 2022 for Swiatek and a 35th match win in succession. Venus Williams had a six-title, 35-win run in 2000, and Justine Henin reeled off six successive tournament triumphs from 2007 into 2008.

The Pole is the youngest winner of two or more grand slams since Maria Sharapova, at 19, added the 2006 US Open title to the Wimbledon crown she sensationally secured as a 17-year-old.

Swiatek is among elite company there, just as she was when she fist-bumped her hero, Rafael Nadal, before stepping onto court.

How far can Swiatek extend this run? Well, Martina Navratilova won 74 successive matches in 1984, a record for the WTA Tour.

As Swiatek collected the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen, she might have been aware that Lenglen, long before the WTA was formed in 1973, embarked on an even more staggering undefeated run.

The Frenchwoman is said to have strung together a 181-match winning streak in the 1920s. Some sources put it at 179, but at this stage we're splitting hairs.

When Gauff said at the post-match presentation that she hoped to play Swiatek in more finals, a beaming smile passed across the champion's face, but it faded just a little when Gauff said she hoped to pull off a win in future.

Swiatek, 21, overwhelmed first-time slam finalist Gauff, 18, on this occasion, but they might have many more big-stage matches to come. Swiatek has no interest in losing any such clash.

Based on their combined ages, this was billed as the 'youngest' Roland Garros final since 19-year-old Iva Majoli stunned 16-year-old favourite Martina Hingis in the 1997 showpiece.

The only grand slam final in the 21st century to feature two players with a lower combined age than the Swiatek-Gauff pairing was last year's US Open trophy match between Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez.

Ahead of this match, American great Pam Shriver spoke on the Tennis Podcast about facing the greats of the game in the 1970s and 1980s, saying: "I played through these amazing streaks of Chris Evert, Navratilova, Graf, Seles... but literally the quality of Swiatek's game right now is equal to the greatest of all time during their streaks. She's the real deal."

This match was won by Swiatek identifying a weakness – the Gauff forehand – and targeting it, constantly. There was no escape for Gauff, who would have recognised the shot was letting her down.

By the end of the third game, Gauff had already committed 10 unforced errors and was a double break down. Welcome to your first grand slam final, Coco.

When Gauff slapped a rare forehand winner, she let out a cry of satisfaction, but the Florida resident then lashed the next ball she faced into the tramlines.

It was a 6-3 6-1 trouncing in Swiatek's favour when these two met in Miami in March, and the Paris crowd were longing for more of a contest this time.

When Gauff broke serve and led 2-0 in the second set, Swiatek's supremacy was briefly in doubt. That didn't last long.

Swiatek swept through her next service game and soon had two break-back points when Gauff flung in a third double fault of the match. Then a forehand – of course it was the forehand – went just wide from Gauff and the set was back on serve.

What would the response be from Gauff? She was broken in a flash, and the contest was effectively finished.

How did the match end? With Gauff flinging a forehand service return long. Yes, this was a final with a theme.

Swiatek saw the disappointment in Gauff's face as she approached the net, and the embrace was a sympathetic one, followed by a consoling pat on the American's back.

To be clear, that means nothing for their future rivalry. Swiatek is cold-blooded until the final point has been played out.

The AC/DC and Led Zeppelin fan, who has been reading The Three Musketeers while in Paris and visited the Palace of Versailles last week, has this clinical flip side to her character.

She lost her first tour final to Polona Hercog as a 17-year-old in 2019, but since that defeat in Lugano has been formidable in trophy matches, winning nine now and only three times being extended as far as 6-4 in any set.

This is why there might be many more slams to come, and perhaps Wimbledon glory awaits in the coming weeks.

Swiatek won the French Open as the world number 54 and a virtual unknown two years ago and has shown she can handle the pressure of being the top seed and hot favourite this time.

Evert, speaking on Eurosport, was drawn into fantastical talk about Swiatek perhaps one day rivalling Nadal for Roland Garros titles. On Sunday, the Spaniard will go after his 14th such triumph.

"She has to get past my seven, doesn't she, before we talk about Rafa?" Evert said, shrewdly. "She can look and dream about winning 10 [grand slams], and it's very possible that she will, but I don't think specifically she's thinking, 'I can win this tournament 14 times'."

That will surely be beyond Swiatek, but Evert's haul, the most by a woman, may not be.

Iga Swiatek sent a message of support for Ukraine after beating Coco Gauff to regain the French Open title on Saturday.

The all-conquering world number one extended her winning run to a staggering 35 matches with a dominant 6-1 6-3 victory on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

Swiatek has been in a class of her own this year, winning six consecutive tournaments and doubling her tally of grand slam crowns two years after claiming her first at Roland Garros.

The Pole, who turned 21 on Tuesday, also showed her class when she offered her support for Ukraine amid the Russian invasion.

She said during her on-court interview: "Two years ago, winning this title was something amazing that I wouldn't have expected ever. This time I worked hard to get here.

"Thank you all the fans for coming, all the Polish flags I can see over there. It's good to have you and lean on you in my toughest moments. It's always a great atmosphere here, and I always have extra motivation every time I come here.

"I also wanted to say something to Ukraine, to stay strong, because the war is still there. Since it started, I was hoping when I do the next [tournament] the situation will be better, but I will still have hope."

Swiatek also praised 18-year-old American Gauff, who was outclassed in her first major final and reduced to tears after a straight-sets defeat in Paris.

She said to the teenager: "I want to congratulate you, because you are doing an amazing job. You are progressing all the time. You will find it, and you will be there, I am pretty sure of that.

"I want to thank my team – without you, I wouldn't be here, I'm sure of that. I'm glad every piece has come together and we can do this. We deserve to be here. Thanks for your full support all the time, no matter what.

"Also to my dad, I wouldn't be here without him, so I have to thank him for everything. Everyone who is in my box, thank you all."

Coco Gauff shed tears as she soaked up defeat to Iga Swiatek after the American teenager suffered a drubbing in the French Open final.

With her forehand misfiring, Gauff suffered a 6-1 6-3 loss to the world number one.

It was a gruelling first experience of a grand slam final for the 18-year-old, as she fell to a player who triumphed at Roland Garros for a second time.

Gauff will likely have her day again on such a big stage, but this was a harrowing experience at times.

As Swiatek celebrated, Gauff sat alone with her thoughts as thunder rumbled in the skies above. She was quietly crying, as was perfectly understandable for one so young, but wiped the tears away with her towel.

In a post-match speech, she said: "This is the first time for me, so let's try to get through this.

"First, I want to congratulate Iga, what you've done on tour the past couple of months has truly been amazing, and you totally deserve it.

"Hopefully we can play each other in more finals, and maybe I can get a win on you one of these days."

For Swiatek, this was a sixth consecutive title and a 35th match win in a row.

Gauff had not dropped a set in Paris leading up to the final, but she had faced only one seed, number 31 Elise Mertens in round four.

"Next, I'd like to thank my team," Gauff said. "I'm sorry I wasn't able to get this one today."

This was when the tears began to seriously flow as Gauff broke off to gather herself.

The composure returned, and Gauff added: "Hopefully this is the first final of many, and I really appreciate you guys a lot. You helped me so much throughout this year."

She thanked all and sundry, including the crowd, saying: "Thank you, you guys, you supported me even when I was down. Even when I was down match points, you were still cheering me on. That means a lot, so truly thank you."

Gauff ended her speech and, wandering off stage, could be heard to say: "I don't know where to go..."

The only way is up, surely, but this was not to be her day.

Iga Swiatek stretched her incredible winning run to 35 matches by beating Coco Gauff in straight sets to regain the French Open title.

The ruthless world number one outclassed Gauff on Court Philippe-Chatrier, beating the 18-year-old American 6-1 6-3 in only 68 minutes.

Swiatek, 21, was relentless at Roland Garros on Saturday, winning her second grand slam title two years after claiming her first in Paris.

The top seed was broken for the only time at the start of the second set, but otherwise hardly put a foot wrong and won six games in a row to get her hands on the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen again after winning a sixth consecutive tournament.

Gauff, the 18th seed, could still win a maiden major title when she teams up with Jessica Pegula in the women's doubles final on Sunday.

A nervy Gauff was broken in the first game when she drilled a forehand long, with an aggressive Swiatek consolidating that break courtesy of a rasping forehand winner after a great serve.

The teenager was struggling with her forehand and made a string of errors as the composed Swiatek secured a double break for a 3-0 lead.

There was a big cheer for Gauff when she held to get on the board at 4-1, but Swiatek continued to dictate with her excellent serve, power, precision and athleticism, raising her fist after a majestic forehand winner put her a game away from winning the first set.

Swiatek had the set wrapped up in only 32 minutes when Gauff put a backhand wide after another glorious backhand winner from the top seed.

Gauff was not feeling sorry for herself and had a first break in the opening game of the second set as the favourite fired a forehand into the tramlines.

She was unable to build on that strong start to the set, putting a forehand wide after a double fault to ensure Swiatek was back on serve at 2-1.

The momentum was firmly with Swiatek as Gauff continued to make too many errors, winning six games in a row to take the title, with her opponent firing a return long to end a one-sided final.

At the end of a week in which Amelie Mauresmo said there is "more attraction and appeal" in the modern men's game, Iga Swiatek and Coco Gauff get a showpiece stage to show the rising stars of the WTA Tour can be box office too.

Former women's number one Mauresmo, who is now tournament director at the French Open, sparked upset for many when she explained why nine out of 10 evening session matches at Roland Garros were men's clashes.

The lone exception was the second-round match between France's Alize Cornet and Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko, but on Saturday the women are at the heart of the action as world number one Swiatek, on a 34-match winning streak, tackles the exceptional American Gauff, the youngest Roland Garros finalist since Kim Clijsters 20 years ago.

Saturday's title contenders have a combined age of 39 – Swiatek turned 21 this week and Gauff is 18 – making it the 'youngest' Roland Garros final since 19-year-old Iva Majoli stunned 16-year-old favourite Martina Hingis in the 1997 trophy match.

The only grand slam final in the 21st century to feature two players with a lower combined age than the Swiatek-Gauff pairing was last year's US Open trophy match between Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez.

Both have plenty to gain, with heavy favourite Swiatek arguably having the most to lose. Ahead of their showdown, Stats Perform looks at two players who belong in the spotlight, day or night.


Super Swiatek will be hard to stop

In terms of the head-to-head between these two, we are in the early stages. While Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have fought out an epochal 59-match rivalry on the men's tour, this is just meeting number three between Swiatek and Gauff, with Swiatek winning both to date, including a 6-3 6-1 trouncing in Miami in March.

Swiatek would become just the fifth top seed in 25 years to triumph in the women's singles if she gets the job done. She triumphed in 2020 when ranked a lowly 54th and as a relative unknown.

If she gets the win and improves to 9-1 in singles finals across her career, Swiatek will achieve the longest streak of victories on the women's tour since Venus Williams also strung together 35 in 2000. The young Polish player would also become the youngest winner of two or more grand slams since Maria Sharapova, at 19, added the 2006 US Open title to the Wimbledon crown she secured as a 17-year-old.

Swiatek has won 15 matches in a row on clay, the most consecutive successes by a WTA Tour player since Serena Williams strung together 20 from 2015 to 2016.

The AC/DC and Led Zeppelin fan had won five consecutive titles leading into this fortnight (Doha, Indian Wells, Miami, Stuttgart and Rome) and can become the first woman to land six in a row since Justine Henin reeled off victories in Toronto, at the US Open, Stuttgart, Zurich, the WTA Finals, and Sydney in the latter months of 2007 and beginning of 2008.


Gauff's moment arrives

She was Wimbledon's youngest qualifier of the Open Era in 2019, and ever since that breakthrough moment Gauff has stood out as a player and person of increasingly great stature.

A mature, wise head on her shoulders has seen Gauff make powerful statements on important matters such as police brutality, LGBTQ rights and gun violence, and at the same time her tennis continues to dazzle.

She has been as high as number 15 in the world and is heading towards a low single-digit ranking very soon. In Paris this fortnight, Gauff has yet to drop a set, unlike Swiatek, who lost one to the impressive qualifier Zheng Qinwen in the quarter-finals.

So here's the skinny: Gauff, at 18 years and 84 days, will be the youngest women's grand slam singles finalist since Sharapova at Wimbledon in 2004; she has broken serve 35 times in six matches at this edition of Roland Garros; she is through to the doubles final too, with Jessica Pegula.

She is the third American woman aged under 19 to reach this French Open final, after Chris Evert in 1973 and Andrea Jaeger in 1982, and among all WTA players, only Monica Seles, Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario and Steffi Graf have taken the title at a younger age in Paris during the Open Era.

Gauff has such self-belief she will know the number one can be toppled, as history has told us. Since November 1975, when computer rankings were introduced on the women's tour, four teenagers have beaten the WTA number one player in the French Open final.

Should Gauff pull off the shock on Saturday, she will be following in the footsteps of Graf (beat Navratilova, 1987), Sanchez-Vicario (beat Graf, 1989), Monica Seles (beat Graf, 1990) and Majoli (beat Hingis, 1997).

There is a growing sense that, like Swiatek, Gauff will eventually be remembered in the company of such luminaries, and now she has to go out and prove it.

Seven-time French Open winner Evert this week called it "destiny", adding on Twitter: "We saw greatness 3 summers ago. We've all been waiting for this!"

Iga Swiatek says she hopes to form a "special rivalry" with Coco Gauff as the pair prepare to meet in the French Open final.

World number one Swiatek extended her sensational winning run to 34 with a straight-sets semi-final victory over Daria Kasatkina on Thursday at Roland Garros.

The Pole is the first player to reach six or more finals on the WTA Tour in the first six months of the year since Serena Williams in 2013 (seven), but next faces the in-form Gauff.

Teenage star Gauff breezed past Martina Trevisan in the last four, winning in straight sets, as she became just the sixth American player in the Open era to reach the showpiece in Paris without dropping a set.

That made the 18-year-old the third-youngest grand slam finalist this century, the youngest American female French Open finalist since Monica Seles in 1991 and the youngest overall since Kim Clijsters in 2001.

The pair have long been familiar with each other, though, having featured on the junior circuit. Swiatek won the girl's event at Wimbledon just four years ago, shortly after Gauff's junior Roland Garros success.

And Swiatek cannot wait to develop a rivalry in senior tennis with the world number 23.

"I like watching Coco Gauff – my opponent in the Roland Garros final on Saturday – and maybe this will become a special rivalry for years to come," she wrote on BBC Sport.

"I feel like she's been on tour longer than me and she's only 18. Coco has great potential and I hope she will keep improving. I think this tournament has shown she is on the right path.

"I remember Coco winning the French Open juniors in 2018 when I really wanted to win. I didn't play against her, though, because I lost to Caty McNally in the semi-finals.

"But when Coco won – she was only 14 – I was like 'great, I worked so hard and a girl three years younger than me is winning junior Grand Slams'!

"It was tough for teenage me to take but I've progressed well since.

"When I got to meet her more on the WTA Tour, I could see she was staying on a really good level and she deserves her success.

"We don't talk to each other loads when we're at tournaments, just because we're both kind of shy! It is pretty hard for introverted people to bond but I really like her.

"I feel she is really humble and focused on the job. It seems like she is having fun and has good people around her."

Victory for Gauff would make her the seventh player to win the girls' and women's singles titles in Paris, but Swiatek knows it is not just the American she will have to contend with in the future.

US Open winner Emma Raducanu was another challenger cited by Swiatek, who also expects 19-year-old Leylah Fernandez to prove stern competition in the coming years.

"Rivalries are one of the most fun things about sport and there have been some great ones in the history of tennis," Swiatek continued.

"On Tuesday night we all saw Rafael Nadal play Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros and that is one of the greatest ever rivalries.

"It is amazing how many matches Rafa and Novak have played against each other and how many they have played in the deep stages of the tournaments.

"Many of their meetings have been in semi-finals or finals, it shows that the competition between them drives them to higher levels.

"It would be nice to have a rivalry, one that would push me to excel, to be more intense and that will challenge me to play my best tennis. I could imagine that.

"I wouldn't want to have a record like Maria Sharapova did against Serena Williams, she won two of their 20 matches. Of course it sometimes happens and numbers aren't always the most important.

"The goal is to enjoy tennis matches but, of course, also to win.

"I've never thought about who exactly I would like to develop a special rivalry with. It is hard to predict who will stay at the top of the WTA Tour and be consistent.

"As well as Coco and maybe Emma Raducanu, I think Leylah Fernandez has the ability to potentially challenge for the Grand Slam trophies.

"Leylah has already made two great runs – the quarter-finals here this year and the 2021 US Open final – and if she continues to play that well at more tournaments I think she will be near the top of the rankings."

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