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Is Iga Swiatek Charging Toward Her Third French Open Title?


While the four Women’s Singles Grand Slams have been incredibly hard to predict since Serena Williams’ last success at the Australian Open in 2017, with 15 different winners of the last 23 tournaments, many considered this year’s renewal of the French Open to be a foregone conclusion before the first ball was even hit on the iconic clay surface of Roland Garros.

All the talk prior to the French Open had been surrounding Iga Swiatek as she entered the tournament as the even-money favourite for the defence of her title in the Women’s French Open betting odds and the current World No.1 has so far justified her short price for the second Grand Slam of the calendar year by making easy work of her opponents to this stage.

The 22-year-old had a mixed spell of results on the clay court surface in the warmup events to the French Open, successfully defending her Women’s Stuttgart Open WTA 500 title before losing the final of the Madrid Open in three sets to second seed Aryna Sabalenka. Swiatek was then forced to retire in the third set of her quarter-final matchup against Elena Rybakina in the Italian Open — another tournament she won last year.

That right thigh injury proved nothing more than a scare as she has come out firing on all cylinders at Roland Garros. Swiatek has won her opening four games at the time of writing without even dropping a set, beating both Spaniard Cristina Bucsa and American Claire Liu 6-4, 6-0 in the first two rounds before a flawless 6-0, 6-0 victory over Wang Xiyu in the third — in which her Chinese opponent only won a mere 17 points.

Swiatek was coasting again in the fourth round, leading 5-1 in the first round against her Ukrainian opponent Lesia Tsurenko before she was forced to withdraw from the match due to illness. The World No.1 admitted it is not an ideal way to finish a match in her post-game press conference, but it does mean she will be fresher than most heading into the quarter-finals and that could be a big factor as we go into the business end of the tournament.

COPYRIGHT_WI: Published on https://washingtonindependent.com/is-iga-swiatek-charging-toward-her-third-french-open-title/ by Elisa Mueller on 2023-06-07T13:09:21.714Z

Her four wins this year mean she is now 11 games unbeaten on the dirt surface at Roland Garros and has taken her career tally to an incredible 25 wins and just two defeats at the French Open. That isn’t something she is looking into too deeply at this stage though.

"I don't want to take this for granted, because I know every tournament is a different story," the World No.1 said. "We all can kind of have really tough opponents even in the first or second round and struggle, because, as well, the beginnings of the tournaments are sometimes tough.

"But I just feel pretty solid here [at Roland Garros]. I'm happy that I'm in a quarterfinal, and every year I'm gonna do my best to always reach these stages or even more so."

On that form, Swiatek is going to be incredibly hard to beat in Paris. She will face her toughest opponent yet in the form of sixth seed Coco Gauff but can take confidence from the fact she beat the American rather convincingly 6-1, 6-3 in last year’s French Open final. Recent Australian Open victor and second seed Sabalenka is the other obvious danger, but Swiatek has a 5-3 advantage in their eight meetings.

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About The Authors

Elisa Mueller

Elisa Mueller - Elisa Mueller was born in Kansas City, Missouri, to a mother who taught reading and a father who taught film. As a result, she spent an excessive amount of her childhood reading books and watching movies. She went to the University of Kansas for college, where she earned bachelor's degrees in English and journalism. She moved to New York City and worked for Entertainment Weekly magazine for ten years, visiting film sets all over the world.

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