Oct/20

10

Iga Swiatek Wins Roland Garros

Iga Swiatek came, Iga Swiatek saw and Iga Swiatek conquered Sofia Kenin 64 61 in an unforgettable display of power tennis genius, to become the first Polish player to win a Grand Slam singles title.

For the 19 year old it’s also her very first WTA singles title victory.

From the outset, Swiatek showed her superior arsenal was too much for Kenin, advancing to a 3-love lead. Kenin, the 2020 Australian Open champion, willed her way back to 3-3 but Swiatek showed no signs of immaturity or feeling the pressure and won the set 6-4.

It was Kenin who showed stressed facial expressions and discomfort for how Swiatek was clobbering the ball and moving like a gazelle. Swiatek seemed to do everything just a little better than Kenin, who she also beat in their only prior meeting at the junior girls Roland Garros in 2016 (third round, 75 64). Kenin said two days ago that match “was close” but today’s duel was remarkably one-sided, especially in the second set as Swiatek rolled to the 6-4 6-1 final score. A forehand winner by Swiatek was the final deathblow for Kenin – and the history maker for Poland.

Poland has succeeded in Grand Slam doubles thanks to Lukasz Kubot, winner of AO and Wimbledon, and close calls from Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski but singles success has evaded Poland for over a century.

Several other Polish players have come close to Grand Slam singles glory – Jerzy Janowicz at Wimbledon semis, and Agnieszka Radwanska (once), and Jadwiga Jedrezejowska (three times) losing in major finals. Wojtek Fibak made three major quarterfinals but that was his ceiling, though he did play in the Masters final vs Ilie Nastase.

Despite the historical aspect of the accomplishment and the many pressures involved, Swiatek was cool as a cucumber for the entire match, even as Kenin summoned her final rallies… “the wounded animal is the most dangerous.”

Kenin tried an injury timeout and locker room visit to ice Swiatek in the middle of the second set, but like every idea she tried today, it was futile.

Nothing could bother Swiatek today and now her name Iga Swiatek and the Polish flag are forever a part of the tennis history books.

Even veteran broadcaster and former six time Grand Slam champion John McEnroe was thoroughly impressed bu Iga, praising her all court excellence with a stunningly respectful compliment: “the way she played today, she can win half a dozen majors.”

As winning the first Grand Slam is always the most difficult and elusive for many super champion players such as Andre Agassi, Ivan Lendl, Andy Murray, it will be interesting to see if today’s unforgettable conquest by Swiatek opens the floodgates for many more.

Post match quotes:

Kenin:

“I feel like she served really well. She dictated really well with her forehand. Especially in the first set, a few shots here and there just didn’t go my way.”

“She played some great tennis. She’s got the really good forehand, the spinny forehand up the line. Really good backhand down the line. I feel like sometimes just a few things didn’t go my way in the first set.”

“The spinny forehand, it obviously doesn’t look like it’s so difficult, but it has so much spin, it bounces up. It’s obviously going to my backhand,” Kenin said. “I missed a few backhands cross when I had the chances. It’s not an easy shot. She has a really good backhand down the line. She went a few times behind me. Dropshot was also well for her. She served big on some points. Yeah, I mean, she fought really well. She’s had a great run, great tournament.”

Swiatek:

“I don’t know what’s going on; I’m so happy. I’m so glad my family was here finally. It’s just overwhelming for me—it’s crazy.”

“Two years ago, I won a junior Grand Slam. It feels like such a short time I’m just overwhelmed.”

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