In a battle between the two best-ranked teenagers on the WTA singles rankings, No.15 seed Iga Swiatek of Poland ousted No. 35 Coco Gauff of the USA, 7-6(3), 6-3, to book a spot in the Italian Open final.
Iga will take on Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova in the final. The world’s ninth-ranked player and 2019 champion moved into her third straight Rome final after overcoming world No.25 Petra Martic of Croatia 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 in the other semi-final match.
Iga, 19, started Saturday with a challenging task ahead of her. Her quarter-final match, against Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina, which was postponed due to rain on Friday, had not yet started, and the prospect of a semi-final clash — had she won — loomed large in the evening.
The reigning French Open champion, however, passed both tests with flying colours, eliminating two-time champion Elina 6-2, 7-5 in the morning before coming back to ease past Coco in a one-hour and 46-minute tilt.
Karolina, the 2019 champion and 2020 runner-up here, claimed her second straight three-set victory. She saved three match points in her quarter-final clash with Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko as she got her first clay-court victory over world No.25 Petra Martic in their three meetings on the surface.