Coco Gauff’s hopes of domestic glory end with US Open loss to Caroline Garcia

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Coco Gauff’s dreams of a major Grand Slam success on home soil were halted on Tuesday night in the US Open quarterfinals against in-form Caroline Garcia.

Garcia, the No. 17 seed who has been the hottest player on the women’s tour all summer, took the match from the start and didn’t let up in a simple 6-3, 6-4 victory over the 12th seed. The American reached her first career major semi-final just weeks before her 29th birthday.

“My head is buzzing,” said Garcia, who extended a career-best 13-match winning streak and joined Amelie Mauresmo and Mary Pierce as the only French women in the professional era to reach the last four at Flushing Meadows. “I don’t know how to describe it.”

Garcia got off to a good start before the majority of the late-arriving New York crowd was still seated under the indoor Arthur Ashe Stadium roof, breaking Gauff in her first two service games.

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Stepping up to the baseline on Gauff’s first serve and more than a foot inside on her second serve, Garcia put her teenage opponent under immediate pressure with blistering returns deep down the court and sharp, angled groundstrokes from both wings early in the points.

From there Gauff was able to get her teeth into the match by mixing up the speed of her serve, getting one of the breaks back and playing the first game on even terms. But it wasn’t enough to make up the difference as Garcia calmly answered the pressure points on her serve with one screaming winner after another to close out the first after 45 minutes.

After breaking Gauff again to open the second set, Garcia began to run through her service games, offsetting her uneven 52% first serve rate with wilder ball strikes and denying her opponent any chance to engage the partisan world. He faced just one break point the rest of the way until Gauff sent a backhand into the net on match point after 1 hour 37 minutes.

It was the latest high point in a resurgent season for the 28-year-old Garcia, who was only ranked 75th in mid-June but has since thrived under new coach Bertrand Perret, winning three races on three different surfaces. She will enter Thursday’s semifinal against fifth-seeded Ons Jabeur having won 18 of her last 19 matches, including her first WTA 1000 title in five years last month in Cincinnati with wins over No. 3 Maria Sakkari, No. 7 Arina . Sabalenka and No. 8 Jessica Pegula.

“I’m just trying to focus on my game, what I like to do, what’s the best way for me to play tennis,” said Garcia, who had lost each of the previous two meetings against Gauff, and the two this year. “The path is very clear at the moment, which direction to go, under pressure, under pressure. I’m just trying to follow that path. This is how we prepare with the team. We are trying to do our best in this direction.”

Gauff, the precocious 18-year-old from Delray Beach, Fla., who reached the French Open final in July, fell short of becoming the youngest American to reach the US Open semifinals since 1999, when Serena Williams reached the final. for the first of her 23 major single titles.

“I think it was really about her level of play,” Gauff said. “You’re playing someone off the bat, standing over the baseline and ripping balls, it’s not easy. He has the kind of game that you have to adjust to because I feel like it’s not hit-or-miss because he definitely does more, but you hit a good serve and sometimes you don’t expect the ball to come back as fast and as deep as he hit it.”

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