The Roland Garros semifinals are set for Thursday. World No.1 Iga Swiatek continues her quest to become the first player, man or woman, born after 1990 to win five Grand Slam titles, and just the fourth woman in the Open Era to win four French Opens. That quest must go through No.3 Coco Gauff, as the two stars face each other for the third consecutive French Open.

Meanwhile, after a day of upsets that saw No.2 Aryna Sabalenka and No.4 Elena Rybakina bow out, two first-timers will play the biggest match of their careers. No.12 seed Jasmine Paolini takes on 17-year-old Mirra Andreeva for a spot in their first major final.

Here's how Thursday's semifinals stack up.

[1] Iga Swiatek vs. [3] Coco Gauff, not before 3 p.m. local time

Head-to-head: Swiatek leads 10-1
Last meeting: Swiatek d. Gauff. 6-4, 6-3, 2024 Rome semifinals

The case for Swiatek

It's been more than a decade since a woman has come into Roland Garros as heavily favorited as Swiatek. Now, two wins away from her fourth French Open title and fifth major title, the World No.1 must feel bulletproof at the moment. On her favorite surface, she has twice survived match points to maintain her 17-match win streak. She's won 19 consecutive matches at Roland Garros, with a career record of 33-2.

Roland Garros: Scores | Draws

"I remember last year was really stressful for me, so every match was kind of like a relief," Swiatek said.

"Now I'm enjoying it more, and I have more satisfaction from just playing my game. Two years ago, I would say in my mind it felt pretty similar, because I just felt like I had already a great season, and now I can just go for it."

After booking her spot in the second week, she's lost two games, winning three of her last four sets with a 6-0 scoreline. And if her 40-minute demolition job against Anastasia Potapova was impressive, she says her 6-0, 6-2 win over No.5 seed Marketa Vondrousova was even better. 

There are no secrets between Swiatek and Gauff, who will leave Paris as the No.1 and No.2 on the PIF WTA Rankigns. This will be their 12th career meeting. Neither has faced another opponent more often. And with an 11-1 head-to-head record, including a straight-sets win in the Rome semifinals two weeks ago, Swiatek should feel as confident as she's ever been going into one of their showdowns.

- Insights from
iga swiatek
More Head to Head
91.7% Win 11
- Matches Played
8.3% Win 1
coco gauff

"I have nothing to lose. All the pressure is on her."

- Coco Gauff

The case for Gauff

Gauff isn't delusional. She knows the stats and she knows the scorelines. In 22 sets, she's been able to win just two against Swiatek. She's seen her French Open dreams cut short by Swiatek in the past two years, first in the 2022 final and last year in the quarterfinals.

"Look, she's obviously No.1 in the world, and she won this tournament three times already," Gauff said. "I think for me I'm just going in with confidence.

"When I played her in Cincinnati [Gauff's sole win], I didn't go into the match thinking, 'Oh, I've never beaten her before, never taken a set off of her.' 

"So I can't think of past players. Potapova isn't me. I'm not Vondrousova. It doesn't mean anything. Maybe I could lose with the same score, maybe not, but I'm just going to go in and just try to win.

Watch this: Swiatek and Gauff trade dueling hot shots in Rome

Gauff admits she's still looking for the solution to her Swiatek problem. But the American may have found some pieces in their last match in Rome. The 6-4, 6-3 score may look routine, but it was Gauff's best performance against Swiatek since that 2023 Cincinnati win. She served big and played with flatter aggression. Swiatek ultimately played the bigger points better, coming through a number of 30-all and deuce service games, but Gauff succeeded in maintaining sustained pressure. 

"I think her mental game is a little bit better," Swiatek said. "Before it was kind of easier to "crack her," I would say, when you were leading.

"But it's normal that she's making progress. She's at that age that everything goes pretty nicely, that if you're working hard then you will get progress."

[12] Jasmine Paolini vs. Mirra Andreeva, not before 5 p.m. 

Head-to-head: Andreeva leads 1-0
Last meeting: Andreeva d. Paolini, 7-6(2), 6-4, 2024 Madrid Round of 16

The case for Paolini

For the first time in the Open Era, an Italian man and woman have made the final four at a Grand Slam. Everyone expected reigning Australian Open Jannik Sinner, who will be the new ATP No.1, to make his first French Open semifinal. But Paolini has been surprising everyone so frequently this season, we probably should stop being surprised. 

"The problem, I think [was] that I wasn't believing that I could reach the result that I'm reaching now when I was younger," Paolini said.

The 28-year-old from Tuscany had never made it past the second round at Roland Garros before this year. But with a trio of three-set wins over Bianca Andreescu, Elina Avanesyan, and most impressively, No.4 Elena Rybakina in the quarterfinals, Paolini is set to become the first Italian woman since Roberta Vinci to rank inside the Top 10 on Monday. And she's a win away from becoming the first Italian woman since "The Golden Generation" of Francesca Schiavone, Flavia Pennetta, Sara Errani and Vinci to make a major final.

While she gave up over a foot in height to Rybakina, Paolini did all her damage with her improved forehand. Though she grew up playing on clay, Paolini's game has been more suited for hard-court success in the later stages of her career. She has grown into a more aggressive game style, one that uses her heavy forehand to dictate play. As her game improved and she racked up more Top 20 wins, Paolini's growing belief brought her the results.

"I wish I was taller, because I could serve better," Paolini said. "But I think I accept that I have to do with my own body. I mean, I'm short. Okay, we try to don't make it a problem, we try to do something different to improve other aspect, like serve.

"We have to do with what I have, you know?"

Madrid: Mirra Andreeva bests Paolini to make first WTA 1000 quarterfinal

The case for Andreeva

At 17, Andreeva is playing the role of prodigy perfectly. Her on-court IQ betrays her age and lack of experience. But when she snaps at her mother when the scoreline gets tight or, in the middle of the biggest game of her career, bends down to pick up a lucky ladybug, she right back to being a kid again. 

"We have a plan with my coach for the match, but after, I forget everything, and when I play a match and I don't have any thoughts in my head," Andreeva said. "So maybe I would say that my strength could be that I just play how I want to play and I do whatever I want to do, and maybe this helps me when I play."

Striking the balance between her ambition and focus has been the key to Andreeva's run to her first WTA semifinal. She's the first player since Emma Raducanu to make her first tour-level semifinal at a Grand Slam event and the youngest major semifinalist since Martina Hingis in 1997.

In her rookie year on tour, Andreeva's talent was evident, but she was also prone to being hot-headed and letting her negativity spiral. There's been no signs of that under new coach Conchita Martinez. Andreeva has kept her head down and played point-by-point, so much so that she didn't realize she had won her match over No.2 Aryna Sabalenka until she heard the crowd roar. 

"The second I thought about [being close to the win], I lost my serve and I lost her serve, so I was down in the score," Andreeva said. "So I just told myself, well, don't think about that ever again. Just play, because when you just play and you don't think about anything, you play the best."