American teenager Coco Gauff reaches his first Grand Slam final at the French Open

Paris – Coco Guff She sat clear in her wheelchair at the French Open after walking one set away from her first Grand Slam final at just 18-18! – and quietly snacked on some bits of pineapple and other fruit, seemingly without a care in the world.

her opponent in Thursday’s semi-finals at Roland Garros, Martina TrevisanShe was taking a medical timeout so that her right thigh could be treated and registered by the trainer. It was the kind of delay that might upset some players, and could cause them to calm down, give up on momentum, and think too much about what’s at stake.

not hollow. Not on this cool, sunny afternoon in Court Philippe Chatrier. When the American arrived in Paris, she celebrated her high school graduation recently by taking pictures of the hat and cloak near the Eiffel Tower while holding her degree. After wrapping up his 6-3 6-1 win over 59th seed Trevisan, Gauff will return to that court on Saturday for a No. 1 clash. Iga Sweatk for the championship.

“Now I’m in a mindset like: ‘It doesn’t matter,'” said the 18th-ranked Goff. “I mean, I’d be happy, regardless. My parents will love me, regardless. So I’m going to play it like another match.” Yes, it’s a Grand Slam final, but there’s a lot of things going on in the world right now, and especially in the States, a lot of things are happening right now, so I think it’s not important to stress about a tennis match. .”

Then, in a message referring to the recent series of mass shootings in her home country, Goff wrote with a sign on a stadium-side TV camera: “Peace. Stop gun violence.”

A willingness to speak publicly about issues of importance, and a broad view of the world, reflects the kind of maturity that has served her so well, especially with so much interest from such a young age. She won the junior title at the French Open at the age of 14. She became the youngest qualifier in Wimbledon history, then beat Venus Williams on her way to the fourth round there at the age of 15.

Gough, who turned 18 in March, is the youngest woman to reach a Grand Slam final since 17-year-old Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon 2004 and the youngest American woman to reach a grand final since 17-year-old Serena Williams at the tournament. 1999 US Open.

She is also the youngest finalist in the clay court tournament since 2001, when Kim Clijsters She was the runner-up the day after her eighteenth birthday.

“I’m feeling a little shocked right now,” Gauff said with a chuckle after using her still-improving forehand to open up the field and her superb long backhand to seal points against Trevisan. To respond at the end of the game. I have no words to describe how I feel. ”

Gauff has won all 12 combinations it has played in the past two weeks. You didn’t need to go through the most difficult path to get this far: due to all the sudden results and early exit methods by the top players of the category, you’ve only faced one ranked opponent so far, No. 31 Elise Mertens.

Trevisan is a 28-year-old Yosra who today entered a 10-game winning streak, including her first WTA title in Rabat, Morocco, a week before starting play at Roland Garros. She also defeated Gough the only time they played – in the second round in Paris two years ago.

But Gauff is nothing if not educated and a fighter, she is someone who looks better and better with a racket in her hand every time she takes the court. A big part of that, perhaps even greater than her speedy 115 mph (185 kph) transmission on Thursday, is her supernatural splendor, her ancient soul’s ability to see an obstacle and not be afraid.

Early on, Trevisan’s shot landed close to the baseline and was condemned to turn 30. Goff asked presiding judge Mariana Filiovic to come take a closer look, and the pair engaged in a lengthy discussion, both pointing to the point of landing. Goff crouched down to inspect while some of the spectators whistled and jeered, as they often do here when players are discussing a referee.

Then Gauff’s boos faded as I walked into the net to check a mark after one of my backhanders landed on sight during a game where Trevisan broke to make it 3-all.

Effortlessly, Gough broke right back to advance 4-3, hitting a backhand kick that knocked Mum and Dad out of their seats in the player’s guest box. The match will last for about 50 more minutes, but the outcome will never be truly in doubt again.

Goff said, “Honestly I wasn’t nervous to go into the day. I didn’t get nervous at all, which is a surprise. The only time I get a little nervous is probably in the morning. I go for a walk in the morning so that kind of clears my head and then I feel great .”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.