The field has whittled down to only four. Iga Swiatek will lead a quartet of players who have put together impressive journeys to get to this stage at Roland Garros.
Just like it was when the event began, Swiatek remains the one to beat. The top-ranked player, she is now riding a 33-match winning streak. But the other three competitors, Daria Kasatkina -- Swiatek's opponent Thursday -- Coco Gauff and Martina Trevisan have a lot of momentum behind them.
As the unseeded Trevisan said after her win Tuesday: "I like the fight. I like the adrenaline." It's a sentiment each remaining player likely shares.
Trevisan is going to need every bit of that fight Thursday, when she squares off with Gauff, the 18-year-old American who has yet to drop a set.
The other match will feature Swiatek and 20th-seeded Kasatkina, who had her work cut out for her in the quarterfinals before advancing.
How will these matches play out? Here's our key for each player:
No.1 Iga Swiatek vs. Daria Kasatkina
Key for Swiatek: Strength of game, strength of mind
Iga Swiatek heads into her second Roland Garros semifinal and third major semifinal as the clear favorite.
As she prepares to face Daria Kasatkina, Swiatek is locked in. She has won 52 of her past 54 sets. During her 33-match win streak, Swiatek has had a few early matches that presented challenges. In her Doha opener, she needed three sets to scrape past Viktorija Golubic. In Indian Wells, Swiatek dropped the first set in her first three matches.
Iga Swiatek's win streak total is now at 33 -- the sixth-longest across the WTA and ATP since 2000, trailing Djokovic, Federer (2x), Venus and Serena. So that's pretty good company.— D'Arcy Maine (@darcymaine_espn) June 1, 2022
The pattern continued on clay. In Rome, she edged out the opening sets against Victoria Azarenka and Bianca Andreescu. She said she finally found her game in the second set against Andreescu. Then she blitzed the field to win her fifth straight title.
In Paris, that "wobble" match came in the Round of 16 against Zheng Qinwen, an encounter she would eventually win 6-7(5), 6-0, 6-2.
"I think it's important that I had this kind of match, which is kind of like a cold shower," Swiatek said afterward. "It reminded me how to find these solutions after losing a first set.
The cold shower worked. By her own assessment, Swiatek played her best match of the tournament Wednesday with in a 6-3, 6-2 quarterfinal win against No.11 Jessica Pegula.
Since she started playing full time in 2019, Swiatek has been near-automatic when it comes to the late stages of tournaments. Her 8-1 record in finals is well-documented, but she's also 9-3 in semifinals. During her win streak, which began in February, Swiatek has dropped only one set from the semifinals onward.
Both Swiatek and Kasatkina said they won't read too much into their past three meetings, all won by Swiatek. Kasatkina says she's a much fitter, different player now. Then again, so is Swiatek.
"I know if I'm going to have a good mindset and really be focused and just be focused from A to Z, like today, not like in the previous match, I know I can do a lot on court," Swiatek said after the quarterfinals. "I know that I have many options and I am pretty sure that I can cope with some problems that I'm going to have on the court [tomorrow]." -- Courtney Nguyen
Key for Kasatkina: Maintain aggressive shot-making
After back-to-back Grand Slam quarterfinals and a Top 10 finish in 2018, Daria Kasatkina seemed primed for a stay in the elite. For two years after, though, Kasatkina retreated back to the pack.
However, she surged back into contention in 2021, when she won two titles. She maintained that form this year. Kasatkina has won 23 matches, tied for the fourth most on tour. With five straight-set wins at Roland Garros, Kasatkina has finally reached her first Grand Slam semifinal.
Kasatkina has dropped only 14 games up to that point. In this century, only Serena Williams, Mary Pierce and Dinara Safina lost fewer games on their way to the last eight at Roland Garros.
Kasatkina was pressed harder by Veronika Kudermetova in the quarterfinals; their knowledge of each other dates back to juniors, where they met three times. But Kasatkina has never lost to Kudermetova, even in their previous tour-level meeting at St. Petersburg in 2021.
Kasatkina neutralized Kudermetova’s hard-hitting game by exploiting the breadth of the court. Kasatkina’s topspin forehand, which clears the net by an average of four feet, pins power players in the back of the court. At her best, Kasatkina combines her spin with perfectly placed angles, which she did to stave off a late charge by Kudermetova.
The key test for Kasatkina will be if she can frequently replicate those types of shots against the powerful game of No.1 Iga Swiatek. Kasatkina beat Swiatek on the grass at Eastbourne last year, but Swiatek has won all three of their matches this year, including at the Australian Open.
It is a tall order, but if Kasatkina can again keep balls deep and aggressively find the corners, drawing Swiatek out of position at pivotal moments, she could end the top seed’s 33-match winning streak. -- Jason Juzwiak
No.18 Coco Gauff vs. Martina Trevisan
Key for Gauff: Maintain that composure
Two years ago, a 16-year-old American won the first set of a second-round match at Roland Garros and then -- to use her charming teenage lexicon -- kind of freaked out.
Coco Gauff, perhaps feeling the weight (wait?) of growing expectation, dropped the next two sets to Martina Trevisan and exited the tournament a little older and a lot wiser.
On Thursday, when they meet for the second time (with a French Open finals berth at stake), we’ll discover how much wiser Gauff is -- at the bright and shiny age of 18. She cited last year’s quarterfinal loss in Paris to eventual champion Barbora Krejcikova as another step in the learning curve.
“I had a couple set points and I think I freaked out when some of those points didn’t go my way,” she said after defeating Elise Mertens in the Round of 16. “Today I didn’t freak out when a couple of those important points didn’t go my way.”
Maintaining that composure against Trevisan, who is on a 10-match winning streak, is the critical piece for Gauff, whose game is already major-ready. She’s the first woman to reach multiple Grand Slam quarterfinals before turning 19 since Nicole Vaidisova, 15 years ago. And the 2018 junior champion here has yet to drop a set.
“I feel like last year I was looking at the finish line,” Gauff said after defeating Sloane Stephens in the quarterfinals, “and now I’m not looking at anything really except that ball in front of me. Mentally I’m in a great place. So I know if I do lose a match it’s not going to be because of that. I’m OK, if it is because of my game, because that’s something that I can work on.” -- Greg Garber
Key for Trevisan: Be aggressive, but stay patient
Martina Trevisan is considered by some to be an interloper at this stage of a Grand Slam. But her run to her first major semifinal shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who has paid attention.
Of the second week lineup at Roland Garros, Trevisan's form was second only to World No.1 Iga Swiatek. She is on a 10-match winning streak, a run that started with her first title, in Rabat. That tournament might not have been the highest on anyone's radar the week before the French Open, but it's another reminder that WTA 250s often foreshadow results on bigger stages.
Trevisan's high level would have been apparent to anyone watching Rabat. The 5-foot-3 left-hander plays a dynamic, attacking game centered around a lethal forehand that has been finding lines and angles for the past three weeks. It's led her to upset against two Top 20 players, Garbiñe Muguruza in Rabat and Leylah Fernandez in the Paris quarterfinals. Those are the only players Trevisan has conceded a set to during her run.
🇮🇹 Trevisan's run to the @RolandGarros final four this year may seem surprising, but the reality is she has game -- an especially good one.— wta (@WTA) June 1, 2022
5️⃣ things to know about first-time French Open semifinalist @MartinaTrevisa3 ⬇️
Trevisan has struck 113 winners in Paris through five rounds. Her commitment to her swashbuckling style has paid off in tight moments. She won the second-longest tiebreak of the year, against Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the fourth round, 12-10. And Tuesday, she rebounded from a missed opportunity on match point against Fernandez in the second set and played stellar tennis in the third to advance.
This kind of confidence suggests Trevisan, 28, could be following in the tradition of late-blooming Italian countrywomen such as Francesca Schiavone, Flavia Pennetta and Roberta Vinci, all of whom played their best tennis in their late 20s and early 30s.
In 2020, Trevisan defeated Coco Gauff in the third round of Roland Garros and will be seeking to reprise that result in Thursday’s semifinals. If Trevisan can dictate action with her aggressive forehand, she'll be in control. But it will also require patience. It's a big enough shot to hit through Gauff's supreme defense, but it will take several more strikes per rally than Trevisan has needed so far. -- Alex Macpherson