After singles exits, Fernandez and Andreescu still making noise at French Open

Two Canadians who failed to make big runs in singles action at the French Open are making noise in doubles competition. Leylah Fernandez of Laval, Que., advanced to the semifinals of the women's doubles, while Bianca Andreescu of Mississauga, Ont., advanced to the mixed doubles final.

World No. 1 Iga Swiatek beats Coco Gauff to reach semifinals

A female tennis player hits the ball forward with both hands on her racket on the right side of her body.
Canada's Leylah Fernandez, pictured during the French Open women's singles tournament on May 28, advanced to the women's doubles semifinals on Wednesday after teaming with American Taylor Townsend for a 6-3, 6-3 win over the Taiwanese tandem of Chan Hao-ching and older sister Latisha Chan. (Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Two Canadians who failed to make big runs in singles action at the French Open are making noise in doubles competition.

Leylah Fernandez of Laval, Que., advanced to the semifinals of the women's doubles draw after teaming with American Taylor Townsend for a 6-3, 6-3 win over the Taiwanese tandem of Chan Hao-ching and older sister Latisha Chan.

In mixed doubles, Bianca Andreescu of Mississauga, Ont., and Michael Venus of New Zealand advanced to the final with a 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4) win over Ottawa's Gabriela Dabrowski and Nathaniel Lammons of the United States.

Fernandez and Townsend converted all four of their break-point chances while defending five of the six breaks they faced in the win.

Fernandez, a U.S. Open finalist in 2021, has struggled in singles competition this year. Her three-set loss to Clara Tauson in the second round of the women's singles draw in Paris dropped her record on the season to 14-13.

However, she and Townsend have formed a successful partnership since joining forces in March, advancing to the final of the Miami Open and the semifinals of the Madrid Open. Both are WTA 1000 tournaments.

Fernandez and Townsend, the 10th seeds in Paris, will face the No. 2 American duo of Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff in Friday's semifinals. Pegula and Gauff defeated Fernandez and Townsend in straight sets in the Miami Open final.

Andreescu, looking to reclaim the form that saw her win the 2019 U.S. Open and rise to No. 4 in the world, looked strong in her first two singles matches before crashing 6-1, 6-1 in a third-round loss to Ukraine's Lesia Tsurenko. But the Canadian will be playing for a title after her semifinal win in the mixed event.

Andreescu and Venus need a second tiebreak to put away Dabrowski and Lammons after failing to convert a break chance that would have put them up 3-2 in the second set.

After both teams held throughout the set, Andreescu and Venus went up 4-0 in the tiebreak and won on their first match point.

Andreescu and Venus will face Germany's Tim Puetz and Japan's Miyu Kato in Thursday's final.

Swiatek tops Gauff in rematch of last year's final

This felt like a game Coco Gauff simply needed to claim if she intended to finally win a set, let alone a match, against No. 1 Iga Swiatek.

With shouts of "Go, Coco!" and "Allez, Coco!" emanating from the Court Philippe Chatrier stands, Gauff frittered away two break points as Swiatek served at 1-all. Then, at deuce, came the most memorable moment of Wednesday afternoon — and, while Gauff won the point, it soon would be Swiatek who seized complete control of this French Open quarterfinal that was a rematch of last year's final.

During a 14-stroke exchange, both women made their way to the net, and Gauff directed a swinging backhand volley right at Swiatek. The ball struck Swiatek's right leg, and she tumbled back onto the red clay, leaving rust remnants on her white dress and arm. That set up a third break chance for Gauff, but the 19-year-old American again failed to convert, and while it soon was 2-all, Swiatek pulled away from there to a 6-4, 6-2 victory.

"I didn't try to hit her. I was just trying to hit the ball hard in the middle of the court, and it happened to hit her, obviously. I apologized after, but I think she knows that's part of the game. If you hit a bad ball and you decide to run to the net, there's always a risk that you get hit — and there's always the risk that the person might miss, trying to avoid you," Gauff said. "If I was in her position, I wouldn't be mad at me, either, because she ran forward. I think when I said sorry, she shook her head, and we had a mutual understanding that that was the only shot I really had."

When a reporter asked Swiatek whether it's unusual to get directly hit like that, she agreed with the premise. She also said she couldn't be sure whether Gauff had another option.

"But I know Coco is a nice person, and she wouldn't mean it," said Swiatek, a 22-year-old from Poland who is seeking a third title at Roland Garros and fourth Grand Slam trophy overall. "Nothing personal. It happens."

She improved to 7-0 against No. 6 Gauff and has won all 14 sets they've played against each other; that includes a 6-1, 6-3 victory for the 2022 championship in Paris.

"Obviously," Gauff remarked, "you lose to someone seven times, you feel crappy."

On Thursday, Swiatek will meet No. 14 seed Beatriz Haddad Maia, the first woman from Brazil to reach a Grand Slam semifinal since Maria Bueno at the 1968 U.S. Open. The other women's matchup for a berth in Saturday's title match will be No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka, who won the Australian Open in January, against unseeded Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic.

Zverev to face Ruud in semis

In the men's quarterfinals, No. 22 Alexander Zverev beat Tomas Martin Etcheverry 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 to reach the French Open semifinals for the third consecutive year. At that stage in 2021, Zverev lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas in five sets; in 2022, Zverev tore ligaments in his right ankle during a fall late in the second set against Rafael Nadal.

Zverev's next opponent will be No. 4 Casper Ruud, who beat No. 6 Holger Rune 6-1, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 on Wednesday night. The other semifinal is No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz vs. No. 3 Novak Djokovic.

Last season, Ruud was the runner-up to Nadal in Paris and to Alcaraz at the U.S. Open. Ruud topped Rune in a contentious quarterfinal at the French Open in 2022, but this one was notable for how one-sided it was for the first hour or so. Rune kept making mistake after mistake — seven double-faults and 30 unforced errors in all across the first two sets alone — and, while he straightened things out eventually, it was Ruud who regained control early in the fourth set.

Haddad Maia advanced by coming back for a 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-1 victory over No. 7 Ons Jabeur, a two-time major runner-up in 2022.

Haddad Maia is a 27-year-old left-hander who was given a 10-month suspension after failing a doping test in 2019. She arrived in Paris with a 7-11 record at majors, never winning so much as one second-round match, until this 5-0 run.

"One of my qualities," Haddad Maia said, "is that I wait and I'm very patient and I never give up."

Before even knowing she would face Swiatek, Gauff spoke about hoping for that opportunity. She insisted she wanted another shot at Swiatek, who has topped the rankings for more than a year.

Gauff tried some new tactics, with a measure of success early, looping high-arcing, high-bouncing shots, instead of her standard big hitting.

"I didn't win, so it didn't work, but I think on certain points it did," Gauff said. "But, yeah, I have to figure something out."

This one was even early, at 4-4 in the first set, before Swiatek edged ahead. First she held, then she broke at love, smacking a cross-court forehand to own that set, then raising her right fist and shaking it.

Swiatek's heavy-topspin forehand is probably her best shot. That also happens to be Gauff's weaker side. A glance at the stats demonstrated the disparity: Swiatek finished with a 12-1 advantage in forehand winners.

After dusting herself off when she got hit by the ball in the second set — "Sometimes being in clay, it feels like you're just out there doing dirty work," Swiatek would say later — she lifted her play.

And it was Gauff, wearing a bandage on her right knee after scraping it in her previous match, who began having trouble with shot selection and execution. By the end, Gauff had far more unforced errors, 23, than winners, 13.

Yet to drop a set in the tournament, Swiatek broke to go up 4-2 in the second with the help of a double-fault, and again in the last game with the help of another double-fault.

Gauff was told at her news conference that she didn't seem quite as crestfallen as she appeared to be after a fourth-round loss at the Australian Open in January.

"I wouldn't say I'm more at peace. To be honest, I'm still very frustrated, but I guess I'm trying not to show it as much," Gauff said. "Yeah, I don't want those pictures on the internet."

With files from The Associated Press

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now