Tennis: Swiatek's new Parisian triumph at Roland-Garros

Poland's Iga Swiatek wins the Roland-Garros women's tournament

by Vincent Daheron

The Polish Iga Swiatek confirmed her control over the Roland-Garros women's tournament by winning her fourth title on Saturday, the third in a row, thanks to her victory against the Italian Jasmine Paolini (6-2, 6-1 in 1h08) .

“It’s an emotional victory because I felt a lot of stress yesterday and this morning,” she explained at a press conference. “I knew that by focusing on tennis I could overcome this, and in the end everything turned out the way I wanted. I'm really proud of myself.”

The world number one – she will remain so again on Monday for the 107th week of her career – became the third player to win three French Opens in a row in the Open era (1968) after the American Monica Seles (1990 to 1992) and the Belgian Justine Henin (2005 to 2007).

With four coronations at the “French Open”, Iga Swiatek joins Justine Henin at 23 on the list of winners in the Open era, behind the German Steffi Graf (6) and the American Chris Evert (7).

“It's amazing to be here. I love this place, honestly. I look forward to coming back here every year,” she said on court after receiving the Suzanne Lenglen Cup from Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert, 18 Grand Slam titles each.

In a match that began under the Paris sun, before the clouds and the wind rose, the Warsaw native dominated Jasmine Paolini, 15th player in the world before the tournament and present for the first time in the final of a 28-a-side Grand Slam. years.

If her opponent broke the first to lead 2-1 in the first set, Iga Swiatek broke immediately and won the next 10 games, allowing her to pocket the first set and fly away in the next (5- 0).

Forcing her shots a little against the good defense of the Transalpine at the start of the match, the Pole drastically reduced the number of unforced errors (7 in the first three games, 13 in total) to establish her domination thanks to the power and the effect of his strikes.

“I got broken at the beginning, so maybe it wasn't perfect, but I think the level was pretty high. It wasn't as easy as the score said,” she said. said to the press.

She sealed her coronation on her service before collapsing, knees on the clay that she masters so much, and joining her clan in the stands to celebrate her new success.

“Playing against you here is the most difficult challenge in this sport,” assured Jasmine Paolini after her defeat. “You had an incredible tournament. I've been here for two weeks, the best days of my life. It was difficult today but I'm very proud of myself.”

“She has already won 4 titles, she is only 22 years old (23 and 8 days in reality). These numbers are not normal, it's quite incredible. She is an incredible player!”, continued the Italian at a press conference.

Arriving as a huge favorite after her titles at the preparation tournaments in Madrid and Rome, Iga Swiatek confirmed her rank by winning her fifth Grand Slam, she who also won the US Open 2022. She is the first to achieve the Madrid-Rome hat-trick Rome-Roland-Garros in the same season since Serena Williams in 2013.

“This tournament was quite unreal at the beginning with this second round, and then I was able to play better in each match,” she continued at a press conference. “I’m really proud of myself, because the expectations from outside were obviously quite high and the pressure too.”

During the fortnight, the student of Tomasz Wiktorowski only conceded one set, it was in the second round against the Japanese Naomi Osaka. The No. 1 seed almost stumbled against the four-time Major winner (US Open 2018 and 2020, Australian Open 2019 and 2021), winning after 2h57 of combat and despite a match point against him ( 7-6, 1-6, 7-5).

“I was almost eliminated in the second round so thank you for continuing to encourage me. It was a really moving tournament,” she told the audience at the Philippe-Chatrier court.

This fan of Rafael Nadal (14 titles), to the point of having attended his very probable last Roland-Garros match at the start of the tournament, then continued throughout his journey, spending 40 minutes on the court to dismiss Anastasia Potapova in the round of 16 (6-0, 6-0) then 1h02 against Marketa Vondrousova in the quarterfinals (6-0, 6-2), before eliminating Coco Gauff for the third consecutive year, this time in the semi-finals. finals (6-2, 6-4).

This new triumph places her as the big favorite for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games played at the same Roland-Garros stadium, from July 27. She was eliminated in the second round of her only participation in the Olympics, in Tokyo in 2021.

(Reporting by Vincent Daheron, editing by Jean-Michel Bélot)

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