World No. 1 Iga Swiatek is the toughest player to face on tour, according to Coco Gauff, who is yet to pick up her first win against the Pole. Gauff is currently bidding for the Stuttgart title, where she could meet Swiatek in the final, but she has lost all six of their previous meetings. Gauff also explained how she is trying to find the right balance with her playing style.
Coco Cauff says world No.1 Iga Swiatek is the toughest opponent to face on tour after failing to beat the Pole in any of their six previous meetings.
Gauff overcame Veronika Kudermetova in three sets to reach the last 16 in Stuttgart on Wednesday and will face Anastasia Potopova next.
One thing she might be relieved to see is that Swiatek is on the other side of the draw, so any potential battle between the top and fifth seeds will have to wait until the final.
When asked who is the hardest player to face, Gauff said: “Right now, head-to-head, definitely Iga. I haven’t beaten her. I would say she is the biggest. Pretty much everybody else I’ve gotten some wins over.
“Everyone in the top 10 I think I have played, and maybe won and lost to, except Iga. I think she’s the only one I haven’t beaten.”
Gauff has lost each of her six previous meetings with Swiatek without taking a set, most recently in the Dubai semi-finals but also famously in the French Open final last year.
The 19-year-old suggested that the experience of making it to the Grand Slam decider in Paris was a help and a hindrance, as she looks to find the right approach with her playing style.
“I don’t think I will ever be like (Elena) Rybakina who can really literally hit someone off the court. I think more the way I want to play is being aggressive on the right shots,” Gauff explained.
“I think the tiebreaker [against Kudermetova] I did really well in that. A lot of the shots I hit were kind of close to the line, but I think those are the shots that I know I can make.
“I missed a couple of those earlier in the match, but it’s the fact that I went for them, I think that’s when I made them when I needed to.
“The [Roland-Garros] final is great, but like I feel like since then last year, I feel like the way I have been losing matches has been because of that, I need to change something.
“I think just keeping that mentality I had last year, using my physicality to make them play tennis but also not making them comfortable where they feel like they can just hit me off the court. It’s just finding that balance, and I’m still trying to figure it out.”
Gauff faces Potapova on Thursday, with the winner earning a quarter-final clash against Caroline Garcia or Tatjana Maria.