Coco Gauff’s run at the French Open continued to the quarter-finals with a victory over Elise Mertens

Quite a trip to Paris in the spring to 18-year-old American Coco Gauff: celebrate Graduated from high school An achievement praised by former first lady Michelle Obama on social media – he is now in the French Open quarter-finals for the second year in a row.

How have you spent the past week or so?

While learning, Gauff dominated a tight opening group against the 31st seed Elise Mertens On Sunday, Belgium clinched their last eight matches to go out 6-4 6-0 in the fourth round at Roland Garros.

“You’re never going to play your best slam every single moment of a match, but I think I’m getting better and better,” said Gave, seeded 18th in the Grand Slam on clay. I think, mentally, I can’t ask for more of myself in every match.”

Next will be a match against Sloane StephensWho returned to the French Open quarter-finals for the first time since 2019 with a victory Jill Tishman 6-2, 6-0. Stevens won the 2017 US Open and was the runner-up at Roland Garros the following year. But she hasn’t been a member of the last eight at any major tournament since losing in the quarter-finals in Paris three years ago.

The other quarter-final in the lower half of the lottery will be a left-handed encounter: No. 17 Laila Fernandeza 19-year-old Canadian citizen I reached the final at the US Open last yearversus ranked 59 Martina Trevisan from Italy, who also reached the quarter-finals in Paris two years ago.

Fernandes collected more than twice as many winners, 35, from unforced errors, 17, and breaks six times to defeat the 20-year-old American. Amanda Anisimova 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 on a cold, windy day. Trevisan grabbed the last four games and was out Alexandra Sasnovich 7-6 (10), 7-5.

“Every time I go out on the court, I still have something to prove,” said Fernandez, who only finished 73rd last September when she beat a four-times major champion. Naomi Osaka On her way to being runner-up Emma Radukano In Flushing Meadows. “I still have that mentality that I’m the underdog. I’m still young.”

Jove, of course, is smaller than that.

In 2021, she was the youngest French Open quarter-finalist in 15 years, but wasted five set points in the opening game of losing to an eventual champion. Barbora Krejcikova.

That stuck with Sunday, when she was in the first set back and forth against Mertens which was 4 before Gauff went. After that, she praised herself for keeping her calm for the time being.

“That was the biggest lesson I learned last year in my quarter-final match. I had a few points set, and I think I was blown away when some of them didn’t hit me,” said Gauff, who made a point-net-post backhand on the long run but lost that exchange In the end. “Today, I didn’t freak out when some of these important points didn’t go my way.”

Gauff came onto the scene at Wimbledon in 2019 at the age of 15 when she became the youngest – yes, that word again – in tournament history, beating Venus Williams In the first round of the main draw and get to the fourth. Week 2 followed the other major tournaments.

She is proud of her success in school work. She posted a series of photos on Instagram wearing a hat and cloak and holding a diploma, the Eiffel Tower in the background.

Obama’s response, with which Goff met, was a sweet surprise.

“I’m so grateful for this letter…what it really meant: It wasn’t about tennis, it was about my education,” Goff said. “So I think that means more to me.”