Trevisan v Gauff: Where the match can be won

 - Dan Imhoff

Join us on a tactical deep dive into Thursday’s second women’s semi-final

Teenager Coco Gauff has a shot at revenge when she squares off against unseeded Italian Martina Trevisan for a place in Saturday’s Roland-Garros women’s singles final.

The two women have already broken new ground with their respective runs to the last four in Paris.

Here is a tactical breakdown of the crucial areas where the match could be won.

The Trevisan forehand

Trevisan enjoyed a smooth path to the quarter-finals before starting as a rank outsider against 17th seed Leylah Fernandez.

While she dropped her first set of the tournament, the Italian produced her finest result of her opening five rounds to deny last year’s US Open finalist.

The 28-year-old hit a hefty 36 of her 41 winners off her loopy, top-spinning lefty forehand, although 21 of her 29 unforced errors in that clash came off her more damaging wing.

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Trevisan has clocked 113 winners to reach the semi-finals and there are no points for guessing where she has inflicted most of the pain on her rivals.

She has struck 67 winners off her forehand and 22 off the backhand, while she has hit 67 unforced errors with 61 off the forehand and 34 off the backhand.

The Italian will do all in her power to drag her opponent wide with her sharp angles to open up the court and attack with her primary weapon.

This will be no mean feat against a fleet-footed teenager, who moves to all corners with effortless ease.

Martina Trevisan Roland-Garros 2022©Julien Crosnier / FFT

Gauff’s serve needs to find the mark

While Gauff has hit considerably less winners – 31 off both forehand and backhand – she has been markedly more consistent than her opponent with an unforced error count of 92 through five matches.

The American possesses a more potent serve but this is an area where she can break down and where the errors can flow.

Her 14 aces have her tied for third most among her peers for the tournament but they have been accompanied by a whopping 31 double faults – more than double the Italian’s tally.

The two will remember well their only prior meeting, when Trevisan edged a then 16-year-old Gauff in a three-set second round match two years ago.

Gauff had upset ninth seed Johanna Konta in the opening round but was unable to back it up against the then unheralded Italian, who went all the way to her maiden Grand Slam quarter-final.

“I remember that match pretty clearly,” Gauff said on Tuesday. “I threw in a lot of double faults. I think I was in double digits with double faults. I'm not going to do that this time around.”

Cori Gauff, quart de finale, Roland-Garros 2022©Nicolas Gouhier / FFT

Pressure on Trevisan’s second delivery

Gauff ruthlessly attacked Sloane Stephens’ second serve in the quarter-finals, claiming a devastating 85 per cent of points.

The 18-year-old has been particularly effective on second-serve returns all tournament – tied for second – having won 18 of 26 points (69 per cent).

While Trevisan has claimed 66 per cent of her first-serve points, she has won 44 per cent of exchanges on second serves and Gauff will target this as an area she can make serious inroads on to take control of return points.

Gauff arrived in Paris with a mediocre 4-3 record on clay but has hit her stride on the terre battue, where she reached her maiden Slam quarter-final 12 months ago.

She won’t make life easy for the Florentine on serve. Gauff is second for return games won in Paris, claiming 64 per cent of points – 27 per cent higher than the tournament average.

Martina Trevisan, Coco Gauff, Roland Garros 2020 second round© Julien Crosnier/FFT

Net games strong

Trevisan does hit a markedly different ball to Stephens and while Gauff may take time to adjust to the Italian’s loopier, heavy topspin, expect her to rob her opponent of time and finish off points at net.

This has worked well for her so far with 43 of 62 points won (69 per cent) through her five matches.

Trevisan is no slouch at the net herself, winning 41 of 63 points (65 per cent) and will do well to deploy a similar tactic.