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Coco Gauff, Leylah Fernandez advance to French Open quarters

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May 22, 2022; Paris, France;  Coco Gauff (USA) returns the ball during her match against Rebecca Marino (CAN) on day one of the French Open at Stade Roland-Garros. Mandatory Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

Teenagers Coco Gauff and Leylah Fernandez charged into the quarterfinals of the French Open on Sunday, continuing their march through a depleted field.

Gauff, seeded 18th, and Fernandez, the 17th seed, are the highest remaining seeds in their half of the draw. The tournament at Roland Garros in Paris has only two higher-seeded players remaining — No. 1 Iga Swiatek and No. 11 Jessica Pegula, who are on a collision course for the quarterfinals in the other half of the field.

The 18-year-old Gauff qualified for her second French Open quarterfinals with a 6-4, 6-0 romp over Elise Mertens of Belgium, the 31st seed.

Gauff dominated most statistical categories. She won points on 72 percent of her first serve compared with 45 percent for Mertens, broke her opponent’s serve six times, and hit 19 winners compared with 17 unforced errors. Mertens had 15 winners and 25 unforced errors.

And, Gauff said, she feels at home on the clay courts of Roland Garros.

“I definitely feel confident on the court. I feel like (clay) really suits my game. … The previous tournaments this clay season, I had some good wins, but it wasn’t really any outstanding results. I feel like it gave me a lot to learn from, and I think I’m taking those tough matches that I lost this season and really learning from them, and I guess showing that I’m doing better.”

In the quarterfinals, Gauff will meet the winner of Sunday’s late match between fellow American Sloane Stephens and Jil Teichmann of Switzerland, the No. 23 seed.

Fernandez, a 19-year-old Canadian, advanced to her second quarterfinal at a Grand Slam tournament with her 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 defeat of No. 27 seed Amanda Anisimova.

Fernandez was the runner-up at the U.S. Open in 2021.

It took Fernandez 1 hour and 54 minutes to dispatch Anisimova.

Fernandez jumped to a 4-0 lead in the first set and held on to win despite dropping serve twice in the set. But Anisimova picked up momentum and struck 18 winners in the second set to win and tie the match.

In the third set, a service break by Fernandez at 2-2 shifted the momentum back to the Canadian, who rolled to the win from there.

Awaiting Fernandez in the quarterfinals is Martina Trevisan, who defeated Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus 7-6 (10), 7-5 in 1 hour, 59 minutes. Trevisan, of Italy, reached the quarterfinals in Paris in 2020 — her best showing in a Grand Slam tournament.

–Field Level Media