American teen sensation Coco Gauff has had her fairytale run in Paris brought to an end by Czech Barbora Krejcikova in the first quarter-final on day eleven.
The 17-year-old had been one of the stories of the tournament and started the better of the pair, holding two set points in the first set before dropping that set and then falling apart for the first part of the second set.
After losing the first five games of the second set, Gauff won three games on the trot to breathe life into a contest that had thousands of people watching inside Court Philippe-Chatrier, after local crowd restrictions were eased on Wednesday morning.
But it wasn’t to be for the teenager, with Krejcikova – the former doubles world No. 1 – progressing to her maiden semi-finals appearance at a Grand Slam.
Krejcikova won the French Open doubles title in 2018 with Katerina Siniakova, but has turned her attention to the singles in the past 12 months.
And now she is in the final four of a Grand Slam.
The world No. 33 said the coronavirus pandemic has changed the course of her tennis career, allowing her to spend more time focusing on singles in the Czech Republic and less time worrying about tennis, amid a period where far serious issues were impacting the world.
“It helped me a lot because I spend more time at home. I was playing more of the Czech tournaments. I was actually able to practice with the Czech girls higher ranked than I was. I gain a lot of experience, I would say, during pandemic because Czech Republic was quite okay with pandemic and we actually had a lot of tennis tournaments. So that was nice,” she said after her win.
“I just had more time. I just didn't really have to split the time in between singles and doubles. Playing singles, ITFs, and doubles, WTAs. I think it helped me a lot. Also just seeing that there are also other things in the world that actually are happening, are just more tougher and more difficult than just me playing tennis and losing or me just playing tennis.
“There was also another things that it just got to my mind. I'm like, ‘Well I go and I play tennis and I lose, but there are actually people that are losing their lives’. Just relax because you are healthy. Just appreciate this and just enjoy the game. You can do something what maybe other people would like to do as well but they cannot. I think I just had a really good approach to this.”
Speaking an hour after her best finish at a Grand Slam, Gauff told reporters she believes the loss will prove to be the making of her.
“I'm obviously disappointed that I wasn't able to close out the first set,” Gauff told reporters after the loss.
“To be honest, it's in the past, it already happened. After the match, my hitting partner told me this match will probably make me a champion in the future. I really do believe that.”
Gauff will now turn her attention to the grass court season and Wimbledon, the tournament where she garnered worldwide attention when she reached the fourth round at the All England Club, after qualifying for the main draw before beating Venus Williams in the first round.
“I'm excited to go back, for sure. I think my most memorable thing I remember from Wimbledon is just the crowd experience. That was like one of my first matches on a big stadium like that, playing against really great people like Venus Williams.
“I know it won't be as crowded as normal, but hopefully there are some fans in the stands. I'm just happy that right now I'm healthy and everything. Hopefully that keeps up all the way through Wimbledon.”
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