WATCH: Tennis Channel Live discusses the rough stretch Coco Gauff is going through at the end of the season.

Caroline Garcia vs. Daria Kasatkina

The qualification scenarios for the Nancy Richey Group were complex. “If this player wins a set, this other player will have to win in straight sets” to make the semifinals. That kind of thing. The Tracy Austin Group has no such complications: Iga Swiatek has clinched the top semifinal spot, and whoever prevails in this match will clinch the other position. Garcia and Kasatkina can focus on the old-fashioned goal of winning.

So far there has been a dearth of drama in this group, as the top-seeded Swiatek has made exceedingly routine work of her opponents. On paper, at least, Garcia vs. Kasatkina has potential to give us a little more storm and stress.

They’ve played twice, and each has won once. So far this week, their playing levels have closely tracked. Garcia lost to Swiatek 6-3, 6-2; Kasatkina lost to Swiatek 6-2, 6-3. Garcia beat Coco Gauff 6-4, 6-3; Kasatkina beat Gauff 7-6 (6), 6-3.

Garcia is the more natural attacker, who will press the action and move from baseline to net as quickly as she can. Kasatkina is the more natural defender, who works her looping topspins from sideline to sideline. Each can be brilliant, and each can be the opposite, depending on the day. Each has also had a very good 2022. But Garcia’s has been a little better. Winner: Garcia


If there’s one match that can sustain its interest level without any stakes, it’s this one.

If there’s one match that can sustain its interest level without any stakes, it’s this one. 

Iga Swiatek vs. Coco Gauff

As far as the semifinals are concerned, this match is meaningless. Swiatek has already qualified for the top spot from this group, and Gauff has already been eliminated. Fortunately, if there’s one match that can sustain its interest level without any stakes, it’s this one. Swiatek and Gauff are the headline attractions at this event, and, considering that they’re still only 21 and 18, respectively, they could be playing Grand Slam finals against each other for a decade to come.

They’ve already played one, at Roland Garros in May. Swiatek rolled, 6-1, 6-3, the same way she rolled in her other three matches with the American. In their four meetings, Swiatek hasn’t dropped a set, and has only surrendered more than three games in one of them. Even a friendly audience in San Diego last month was no help for Gauff; she suffered her worst defeat yet to Swiatek, 6-0, 6-3.

So far, Swiatek has had too much firepower for Gauff, and she hasn’t been at all bothered by Coco’s speed or retrieving skills, or her never-give-up attitude. Swiatek just hits through it all. I’m guessing Gauff will do better in the semi-exhibition atmosphere on Saturday night, but “better” is still a ways from winning for her. Winner: Swiatek