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Coco Gauff to begin French Open campaign with positive mindset

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World No. 3 Coco Gauff will take the lessons she learned from a challenging clay-court swing to the French Open, as she looks to build on her Grand Slam breakthrough at last year’s U.S. Open.
The 20-year-old American has not won a clay-court tournament since 2021 and had focused all her efforts on ending that barren run before this year’s event at Roland Garros.

She fell short of that goal — exiting Stuttgart in the quarterfinals and the Madrid Open in round of 16 before falling to Iga Swiatek in the Italian Open semifinals last week — but arrives in Paris with her confidence intact.

“From the start of the clay till now, I feel like my confidence is definitely very high,” she told reporters after her 6-4, 6-3 defeat against the top-ranked Swiatek.

“I lost playing the right way. I know that I’m a good player, and that I can do better in those moments. I think I’m just trusting myself and my practice at that. Going into Roland Garros, like if you asked me pretournament and now, I feel like I’m a different player in terms of just how I’ve been playing.”

There is little wonder that Gauff would be riding high after a career breakthrough that saw her pick up her maiden Grand Slam title on her home turf last year.

She started 2024 strong as she defeated Ukrainian Elina Svitolina to pick up a WTA 250 title in Auckland, and she had her best-ever performance at the Australian Open, reaching the semifinals, where she lost to Aryna Sabalenka.

She followed that up with a trip to the Indian Wells semifinals.

Gauff, however, struggled with her serve in Rome and knows that she will need everything in her arsenal should she run into Swiatek in Paris.

The Polish player has beaten Gauff all but one of their 11 previous meetings and could very well stand between the American and the French Open title after ending her campaign in the quarterfinals a year ago and defeating her in the 2022 final.

“Going into it, I know she’s the one to beat if I want to win Roland Garros,” Gauff said. “I’m going to take what I learned from (the Italian Open) and try to apply that next time we play, which I hope is at Roland Garros.”

The French Open main draw begins on Sunday.

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