Stunning Wimbledon result paves way for Coco Gauff in women’s draw

Coco Gauff had Saturday off, but the U.S. tennis star was arguably the day’s biggest winner.

World No. 1 Iga Swiatek was stunned in a third-round loss to unseeded Yulia Putintseva, clearing a walkway for Gauff to win her second grand slam.

Swiatek has been the biggest thorn in Gauff’s side on the women’s tour. In 12 career meetings, Swiatek leads 11-1, including wins at the last three French Opens.

Gauff downed Britain’s Sonay Kartal 6-4, 6-0 on Friday and watched Swiatek fall to Kazakhstan’s Putintseva 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 a day later.

Putintseva won her match despite Swiatek hitting 34 winners to her 19. Putintseva made up for that discrepancy by only committing 15 unforced errors as opposed to 38 by Swiatek.

In her breezy Friday two-setter, Gauff had 16 winners and only 15 unforced errors while winning 26 of her 29 first-serve points (90 percent).

Gauff, the world’s No. 2-ranked player, faces fellow American Emma Navarro next. Navarro came back from one set down to defeat Diana Shnaider for the first time in three tries on Friday to set up the all-American affair in Wimbledon’s fourth round.

Gauff and Navarro have met once previously with Gauff winning in straight sets, 6-3, 6-1, in the 2024 Auckland semis.

The 2023 U.S. Open winner’s track to the Wimbledon finals also includes a potential quarterfinal match between Jasmine Paolini or Madison Keys, while Emily Raducanu leads the list of prospective semifinal challengers.

Gauff has the least experience on grass-court surfaces, with only 30 career matches. She’s 21-9 all-time. Last year, Gauff was upset by Sofia Kenin in the first round at Wimbledon.

Gauff’s previous best finish at the event was the fourth round (2021), which she can advance past with a win over Navarro on Monday.

With Swiatek no longer looming as a daunting roadblock, Gauff’s path to her first Wimbledon championship might already be paved.