Caroline Garcia continued her rich vein of form as she powered past Coco Gauff to reach the semi-final of the US Open, ending the young American’s dream of securing a home Grand Slam in the process.
The Frenchwoman claimed her 13th successive win in most convincing manner, overcoming the highly rated Gauff on Arthur Ashe Stadium in mightily impressive fashion to seal her place in the last-four.
It has been a fine tournament for the world No. 17 but somehow she managed to find an even higher level to win 6-3 6-4, and on this showing, she will take some stopping as she bids for her maiden Grand Slam title.
Garcia will meet Ons Jabeur in the next round after the Tunisian became the first African woman to reach the US Open semi-finals in the open era by beating Ajla Tomljanovic in straight sets.
Asked how it felt to be in her first major semi-final, a delighted Garcia said: “I don’t know how to describe it. It’s crazy.
“The atmosphere was very, very strong. Obviously to play an American here it’s like crazy energy, and my head is just buzzing.”
Garcia was asked to explain her blistering form, to which she responded: “I have always played very aggressive. I’m able to move and practice the way I want. And I just go for my shots, even when I’m stressed.”
The victory sets up an intriguing battle with Jabeur, with both players vying to lift their first Grand Slam title, and Garcia admits it’s going to be a “great challenge”.
“Since the juniors she’s a big, big and big player and a tough one for me,” she added.
“So, I’m looking forward for the next challenge and see what I can improve.”
Gauff’s body language in the early stages suggested she was nervous; in contrast, Garcia came out all guns blazing, and after rapidly holding service, she broke her opponent twice in quick succession. The American couldn’t deal with Garcia’s sublime forehand and powerful serves as she raced into a 4-0 lead.
However, when the teenager began to settle, she managed a brilliant break of her own to move to within two games of her opponent, with her athleticism beginning to pay dividends.
Gauff hung in there, taking the seventh game to deuce, but she was powerless to prevent the world. No. 17 from holding service and moving to within a game of claiming the opening set.
With the supporters cranking the noise up a notch, back came Gauff, crashing down an almighty ace. But that was only delaying the inevitable: Garcia wouldn’t be denied from taking the opener.
The crowd were more than playing their part, but anxiety was increasing within the stadium as Garcia broke the home favourite in the opening set of the second set.
A set and a break down, Gauff had a mountain to climb, and there suddenly seemed to be a sense of inevitability about the outcome. Garcia was growing in confidence, but Gauff responded with her best tennis of the night, landing two winners to get on the board.
Gauff was now giving it as good as she got, but Garcia was answering everything the teenager threw at her as she held the world No. 12 at arm’s length at 3-1.
Both players held service as Garcia edged towards victory, but Gauff was refusing to surrender easily, and at 4-3 there was still just one break of service.
The stakes were high, but Garcia remained composed, and a couple of aces saw her survive in her penultimate service game when she rallied from 30-0 down.
Gauff’s never-say-die attitude extended the set to its 10th game but despite a couple of unforced errors, Garcia held service to prevail.