French Open: Coco Gauff bids to end Iga Swiatek's unbeaten streak in final. French Open: Time, TV, streaming as Coco Gauff, Iga Swiatek play in women's final
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Coco Gauff says she has shaken off the pressure she felt as a 15-year-old and is ready to win a first Grand Slam against heavy favourite Iga Swiatek in the French Open final.
Gauff first broke through by reaching the Wimbledon fourth round in 2019.
The 18-year-old says her change in perspective will help her try to end Swiatek's superb 34-match unbeaten run.
"I always wanted to play her in a final - I just didn't think it would happen so soon," American Gauff said.
Swiatek, champion in Paris in 2020, is the overwhelming favourite at Roland Garros, having won the past eight finals she has played in and claimed five successive titles this year alone.
However, Gauff has yet to drop a set in this year's tournament and has spent the past three years building on her eye-catching performances at Wimbledon.
Since beating Venus Williams at SW19 on her Grand Slam main draw debut, Gauff has enjoyed a steady rise up the rankings and claimed some notable wins, including ending Naomi Osaka's title defence at the 2020 Australian Open.
Swiatek and Gauff will meet on Court Philippe Chatrier from 14:00 BST on Saturday, with live text and radio commentary available on the BBC Sport website and app.
Gauff is bidding to become the youngest American to win a Grand Slam since Serena Williams lifted the US Open trophy in 1999.
Her Wimbledon run caught the attention of the public, with former First Lady Michelle Obama and singer Beyonce's mum posting about her on social media.
On the eve of the final, Gauff spoke openly about how she "wanted to win too much" during that time, which led to her putting "way too much pressure" on herself.
"I think there's a fine line between believing in yourself and almost pushing yourself too much," said Gauff, who won the 2018 junior title at Roland Garros.
Gauff is known for speaking out for social change, including calling for an end to gun violence in America after her semi-final win over Martina Trevisan.
She credited her family and those around her with helping her to look at life beyond tennis.
"I feel like I put myself in a bubble to the point where it was like tennis, tennis, tennis, tennis," she said.
"Talking to my family in general, my grandmother is always like there is more to life than this.
"Since I was younger my dad told me I could change the world with my racquet. He didn't mean that by just playing tennis. He meant speaking out on issues like this."
Swiatek has become one of the best front-runners on the tour, having broken her opponent's service in their first service game in all six of her matches in Paris.
She often overwhelms her opponents through her sheer power, most notably at last year's Italian Open when she thrashed Karolina Pliskova 6-0 6-0 in just 45 minutes.
Victory in the final will mean Swiatek will draw level with Venus Williams for the longest winning streak on the WTA Tour in the 21st century.
"I want to start with being proactive and put pressure on my opponents because I know how it feels," Swiatek told BBC Sport.
"I try to be aware that my opponent is also going to be stressed and realise that I have nothing to lose."
Swiatek, who turned 21 earlier this week, has said she believes Gauff could be a rival for years to come.
The two met earlier this year at Miami Open, with Swiatek winning in straight sets.
"I'm pretty happy that she's doing well, because I think she's also had a huge amount of pressure in her life," Swiatek said of her opponent.
ROLAND GARROS WOMEN'S FINAL PREVIEW: IGA SWIATEK PUTS HER 34-MATCH WIN STREAK UP AGAINST COCO GAUFF
After some early upset carnage, we end up with a final that’s both logical and promising, with quality and star power in equal measure.
After all of the upset carnage in this year’s women’s event—nine of the Top 10 seeds were gone before the second week began—we end up with a final that’s both logical and promising, with quality and star power in equal measure. Iga Swiatek’s presence is the logical part: She’s No. 1 and riding a 34-match win streak that dates back to February. Coco Gauff’s presence is the promising part. At 18, she’s living up to the hype that was lavished on her when she made her pro debut three years ago.
The 21-year-old Pole and the 18-year-old American have known each since their junior days. They almost met in the girls’ final at Roland Garros in 2018; Swiatek lost in the semis after having a match point against Caty McNally, and then Gauff beat McNally in the final.
So far in the big leagues, though, Swiatek has progressed faster than Gauff on all surfaces, and especially in 2022. She’s ranked No. 1, while Gauff is No. 23, and she already has an adult Roland Garros title to her name. Swiatek has also won both times they’ve played; in their most recent meeting, she beat Gauff 6-3, 6-1, which is basically what she has been doing to everyone for the last four months.