World News – FI – Iga Swiatek Steamrolls through the French Open, beating Sofia Kenin in the final


Swiatek became the first Polish player to win a Grand Slam singles title She did so without losing a set at Roland Garros, and no more than five games in a match

PARIS – The Polish national anthem resounded in an almost empty Philippe Chatrier short to the delight of Iga Swiatek, who had barely sweated during his 6-4, 6-1 defeat of the No 4 heads of series and defending Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin in their Roland-Garros singles final on Saturday

The mask covered Swiatek’s face like the low autumn sun that covered most of the pitch during the hour and 24 minute match But that couldn’t contain his smile, which narrowed his eyes as the song played

The Grand Slam singles title was Swiatek’s first on tour and, more importantly, the first won by any player from Poland, though she was quick to point out that she did than to extend a path that had been paved by others

She mentioned Agnieszka Radwanska by name, whose 20 singles titles on the tour included the 2015 WTA year-end championship, and said: “I know there will be a lot of people coming to us. compare But I think I have to be really consistent for the next two years for everyone to call me the best player in Poland because I still have a lot to do »

Give her some time Swiatek, 19, is the youngest French Open champion since Monica Seles, 18, won her third straight singles title in 1992 She is also the last in a kaleidoscope of fresh-faced Grand Slam champions in women’s singles Out of the last 14, nine have been winners for the first time

“I know my game is not fully developed,” said Swiatek “I also think the biggest change for me will be to be consistent I think that’s what women’s tennis struggles with « 

Swiatek’s coronation had much less of the pomp and circumstance of other years due to the coronavirus pandemic The crowd was limited to 1,000 paying spectators, to stem the spread of the virus and allow the event to unfold Swiatek admitted that the tournament cocoon was a stimulating environment for his transformation into a butterfly

She entered the tournament with a No. 54 world ranking, a recently acquired high school diploma and a vague plan to test her game on the WTA Tour for what she described as a « gap year » before. to decide if she wanted to continue her studies at a university

Swiatek didn’t drop a set at Roland Garros, baffling the tastes of the female world No 1 and former champion Simona Halep, whom she dispatched to the round of 16 with her powerful forehand and groundstrokes Tilted She only lost 28 games during the entire tournament, and no more than five games in a game, facing stiff competition even though several top players did not enter the tournament, including Non Ashleigh Barty, ranked 1, and US Open winner Naomi Osaka Other contenders, like Serena Williams, struggled to make the transition to clay after playing in the US Open last month

After her loss to Halep, the rest of the tournament, she said, looked like bonus rounds

« It was so crazy for me to win against Simona that I already thought of the tournament as my lifelong achievement » said Swiatek « Really I had no expectations I knew it was going to be difficult in the final I didn’t want to stress it too much, so I just thought I didn’t care and tried to believe that « 

In the final, Swiatek took Kenin’s intensity and leveled it up, beating 25 winners against 17 unforced errors She wasn’t completely insensitive to nerves, wasting a set point while serving 5-3 in the first with a mesh backhand on the way to breaking his serve But she broke Kenin to close the first set

Kenin, a 21-year-old American, had played in week two of the tournament with her left leg taped due to a thigh injury that was getting more and more mind-boggling as the rounds piled up With Swiatek leading by 2-1 and serving in the second set, Kenin called for a medical time-out and left the field. She came back with her leg heavily wrapped but had no response for the ‘spinning forehands’ from. Swiatek, as Kenin described them, or his oblique punches Swiatek, smelling blood on the red clay, closed the second set in 31 minutes

« I’m not going to use this as an excuse, but my leg obviously wasn’t the best, » said Kenin, who finished with 10 winners and 23 unforced errors. « It’s obviously disappointing »

Kenin took some solace afterwards in her overall consistency in this most rambling Slam season Between her trips booked to the final, she had a fourth round outing in the US Open

Swiatek, who bounced off the court like she had pogo sticks for her legs, didn’t really come out of nowhere; in 2018 she won the Wimbledon junior singles title and the Roland Garros junior doubles title But her rapid rise over the past two weeks has even left her head spinning

She maintained her composure and focus until the trophy was handed out She was asked to give a speech, she stammered Contrary to points in her match, her sentences were constructed at random

“I basically didn’t know what to say,” Swiatek said later with a smile “I think I had a mess in my head, really”

As she spoke, she looked out over the stands, where the few hundred spectators included her father, Tomasz, who represented Poland in rowing at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul Her voice broke when she recognized him Seeing his face, he began to sink into what she had accomplished.She had taken her father’s sporting heritage and polished it

When she held the trophy in the air, Swiatek said she was thinking of another athlete she greatly admired: Rafael Nadal, who will try to win his 13th Roland Garros title in the final male Sunday

« I watched how Rafa lifts the trophy every year, » Swiatek said, « so it’s crazy I’m in the same place »

Sofia Kenin

News from around the world – FI – Iga Swiatek takes on the French Open, beating Sofia Kenin in the final


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