Iga Swiatek’s French Open Triumph: Polish World No 1 Claims Third Straight Title at Roland-Garros

Iga Swiatek’s French Open Triumph: Polish World No 1 Claims Third Straight Title at Roland-Garros

There is a lovely tennis club south east of Roland Garros near the banks of the Seine, and in the clubhouse one wall is completely covered by a picture of Iga Swiatek. It was taken, the barman said, a few weeks ago when she paid them a visit before the French Open.

She is Polish, not French, and only turned 23 on the day of her third-round win, but it feels like Swiatek is already part of the tennis fabric of Paris.

The world No 1 is creating a dynasty here at Roland Garros. She won her third French open title in a row and fourth in five years with a 6-2, 6-1 dismissal of Italian first-time major finalist Jasmine Paolini.

After the king of clay Rafael Nadal was knocked out in the first round this year, the queen rises to succeed him.

Since her 2019 debut as a 17-year-old schoolgirl, she has only lost two matches here in six visits. She has lost one of her last 29 matches on clay.

Iga Swiatek swept aside Italian first-time major finalist Jasmine Paolini to win her third French Open in a row

The Polish star produced a dominant performance to secure a fourth crown at Roland-Garros in five years

The Polish star produced a dominant performance to secure a fourth crown at Roland-Garros in five years

The world No 1 is creating a dynasty here at Roland Garros and is part of the tennis fabric at the famous French venue

The world No 1 is creating a dynasty here at Roland Garros and is part of the tennis fabric at the famous French venue

It is no exaggeration to say these are numbers worthy of her idol Nadal. Suggesting she will equal his tally of 14 titles would be outlandish but double figures is certainly not beyond her.

As seemed likely at the time, as soon as Swiatek saved a match point and got through a second-round match she had no business to win against a breathtakingly good Naomi Osaka, this title was won.

Swiatek was emotionally shattered by that match and she lay sobbing in the players’ gym afterwards. But she has not come remotely close since then. Her set scores after the Osaka match read: 6-4, 6-2, 6-0, 6-0, 6-0, 6-2, 6-2, 6-4, 6-2, 6-1.

It captured the mood ahead of this final that, when Paolini lost the first point, a wag in the crowd shouted: ‘It’s not over, Jasmine.’

But to assume a foregone conclusion did a disservice to a 28-year-old who is far from a rank outsider. She played as the 13th seed here and will move up to world No7 when the rankings update on Monday.

She won one of the biggest titles of the season in Dubai and plays terrifically well on clay.

But her game on this surface is similar to Swiatek – except the champion just does everything that bit better.

Paolini did as well as she could, striking a fine balance between staying true to her steady gameplan and upping the agression. She almost looked as though she might fall over the way she threw all 5ft 4in of herself into her backhand. She was not overawed by the occasion and has showed enough this week to suggest she will win a hell of a lot of clay court matches for the rest of her career against anyone not named Iga Swiatek.

Paolini arrived with hopes of causing an upset but she was blown away by Swiatek in a one-sided final

Paolini arrived with hopes of causing an upset but she was blown away by Swiatek in a one-sided final

Swiatek is still only 23 but is fast becoming the Queen of the Roland-Garros clay

Swiatek is still only 23 but is fast becoming the Queen of the Roland-Garros clay 

The world No 1 justified her status as the pre-match favourite to retain her trophy in style

The world No 1 justified her status as the pre-match favourite to retain her trophy in style

It would have been easily for Paolini to come out blasting, feeling like that was her only path to victory. But it is always important to first have a good look at your opponent, give them a chance to feel the prickle of nerves.

And Swiatek was indeed a little wayward at the start, especially on the backhand. She made seven unforced errors in the first three games to go a break down.

That seemed to stir her into action and Swiatek won the next seven points in a row to go 3-2 up.

On her first match point Swiatek hammered down a big serve and dropped to her knees

On her first match point Swiatek hammered down a big serve and dropped to her knees

Paolini didn’t do too much wrong in the next couple of games but Swiatek just clicked into a higher gear and charged through the set.

Paolini’s coach told her to always keep smiling on court, and we saw that beam which has lit up Roland Garros this fortnight as she served her first ace of the match at the start of the second set.

But she was broken regardless and there were signs now that she was overhitting. Game after game disappeared, swallowed up by a merciless Swiatek.

On her first match point Swiatek hammered down a big serve and dropped to her knees. Title number four for the young queen of Paris. There will be many more to come.

Comments

No comments yet. Why don’t you start the discussion?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *