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Fernandez, Gauff lead teenage rampage

Teenagers Leylah Fernandez and Coco Gauff have put down a marker for the next generation at the French Open and could meet in the semifinals at Roland Garros.

Fernandez, the US Open runner-up, reached the last eight for the first time with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 victory over Amanda Anisimova on Sunday.

Gauff claimed a quarterfinal spot for the second year in a row when she destroyed Belgian Elise Mertens 6-4 6-0.

The 19-year-old Fernandez had more than twice as many winners, 35, as unforced errors, 17, and continued her run of impressive returning.

The No.17 seed broke Anisimova six times and has now won 23 of her opponents’ service games in her four matches.

Fernandez, the youngest player to win a WTA title in 2022, will play Italy’s Martina Trevisan.

The in-form Trevisan won the last four games to beat Aliaksandra Sasnovich 7-6 (12-10) 7-5 and reach the quarterfinals at Roland Garros for the second time.

Sasnovich served for the second set at 5-3 but was broken at love there, part of a purple patch in which Trevisan collected 13 of 15 points.

Trevisan won her first WTA title at Rabat before the French Open and is now on a nine-match winning streak. Eight of those victories came in straight sets.

Gauff, seeded one place lower than Fernandez at No.18, took a set find her range before steamrolling Mertens, the No.31 seed, 6-4 6-0.

The 18-year-old Gauff, who won 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,” she said.

“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.”

Gauff will face Sloane Stephens, who returned to the quarter-finals for the first time since 2019 by beating Jil Teichmann 6-2 6-0.

That was the last time that Stephens, who won the 2017 US Open, had reached the last eight of any major tournament.

With AP and Reuters

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