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Tennis: Gauff reaches Paris last eight again

Coco Gauff returns the ball to Elise Mertens during their women's singles match, on May 29, 2022. PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (REUTERS) - Teenager Coco Gauff reached the quarter-finals of the French Open for the second year in a row when she destroyed Belgian Elise Mertens 6-4 6-0 in the fourth round on Sunday (May 29).

The American needed a set to adjust before steamrolling the 31st seed with aggressive returns to set up a meeting with either fellow American Sloane Stephens or Jil Teichmann of Switzerland.

The 18-year-old Gauff, who clinched her maiden claycourt title at the Emilia-Romagna Open last year, has been growing fond of playing on the slow surface.

"I definitely feel confident on the court. I feel like it really suits my game," the 18th seed told a news conference. "And I feel like in 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."

With several top players, including third seed Paula Badosa, having already been knocked out, Gauff has a unique opportunity to make it to the last four of a Grand Slam for the first time. But she is keeping her feet on the ground. "I know that some of the higher seeds on my side definitely dropped out of the draw.

But also, at the same time, I think, you know, the opportunity, I feel like it depends how you look at it," she explained. "For me I look at it in a way every day, no matter who you play, you have the chance to win the match no matter their ranking or their seed or anything."

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