The women’s draw in Grand Slams has always been so unpredictable post the Serena Williams domination. There have literally been first time Grand Slam winners in all the four Grand Slams in the past few years or so. This year, the Roland Garros produced yet another maiden Grand Slam winner in young 19-year-old Iga Swiatek from Poland.
Coming into the event, Iga Swiatek was ranked number 54 in the world, and no one (perhaps, except her team and fans) had the slightest iota that the Pole would be lifting the precious trophy two weeks later. But such has been women’s tennis off late, that anything can happen and that’s exactly what happened. The young Pole won her maiden WTA title and that too a big one in the form of Roland Garros.
So how did the Pole do and whom all did she beat enroute to a successful campaign? Well, read on to know all about her stellar run!
Round 1: Iga Swiatek vs Marketa Vondrousova
Iga’s first round match at Roland Garros 2020 was against last year’s French Open finalist Marketa Vondrousova. The 21-year-old Czech was seen as the favourite in the first round bout due to past good showing on clay. But past showings count for nothing, and that’s exactly what happened. The Pole began in fine fashion. First, with a good service hold followed by a break of service. She broke again three games later, and held her own service game to take the opening set 6-1. The second set was a bit more competitive with three break of serves to start the set and the Pole breaking the Czech twice. Another break towards the dying stages of the set sealed victory for for World Number 54. She toppled Vondrousova 6-1, 6-2 to reach the second round.
Round 2: Iga Swiatek vs Su-Wei Hsieh
Swiatek’s next match was against Taiwan’s Su-Wei Hsieh, a player ranked higher than her (WTA Ranking 63). It was deemed to be an evenly poised clash, although momentum was with the young Pole after her big win over a Top 20 player in round one. Like her first round clash, Swiatek began with a service hold and a break of serve. But the teen lost her next service game only to break back again. The teen eventually pocketed the set with another break of serve and a good service hold. The second set was a closely fought affair. It had everything from break of service games to double faults to eye-catching winners. It seemed like a topsy-turvy set, but the Pole held her nerve and took the set (and the match as well). She won 6-1, 6-4 and sailed into round three with ease.
Round 3: Iga Swiatek vs Eugenie Bouchard
Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard was Swiatek’s next opponent. Ranked 168 in the world, the odds were surely in favor of the high flying pole, who did not disappoint at all. Once again, Swaitek looked in omnious form right from the start. She began by breaking Bouchard’s serve and followed it up with a lovely hold of her own. A few tight games followed but the Pole was up to the task and eventually took the first set by a 6-3 margin. Set two saw Swiatek do even better. There wasn’t much long service games barring a couple, and Iga made sure she converted all her break point opportunities. In the end, the Polish player was just too good for Bouchard who was eventually beaten by a 6-3, 6-2 scoreline.
Round of 16: Iga Swiatek vs Simona Halep
It was a repeat of last year’s round of 16 clash between the Pole and World Number 2 Simona Halep. Last year, the Romanian cruised past Swiatek in just 45 minutes and dropped only one game in the entire match. Sure the bruises were still there, and the Pole had a point to prove. And boy did she prove to the world what a superstar she is in the making! She whizzed past Halep in the first set and although the set had some really long rallies and games, the Pole was winning the crucial moments and important points. She dropped just two games in the second to shockingly dump the World Number 2 out of the tournament. And the victory was so convincing that the Pole never ever let Halep get a look into a break point opportunity let alone being broken on her serve. The victory surely boosted the teen’s morale, and that was so critical especially in the matches to follow.
Quarter-Final: Iga Swiatek vs Martina Trevisan
At the quarter-final stage, Iga Swiatek ran into qualifier Martina Trevisan from Italy. The Italian had a dream run till the quarter-finals and secured stunning victories over top players like Coco Gauff, Maria Sakkari, and Kiki Bertens. But she was up against a firing Swiatek, who looked in fine touch. She continued her dream run in the quarter-finals as well. Unlike her previous matches, Iga started off on the back foot and found herself 0-2 down in the first set. But the Pole wasn’t too perturbed by that and quickly found her mojo back. Trailing 2-3, Swiatek broke Trevisan’s serve twice and then served out the set to clinch it 6-3. The second set was a completely different ball game altogether. Trevisan found it extremely hard to hold serve even once and lost all her four sevice games. Had she not broken Iga in game four, she would have been bageled by the teen. The Pole on the other hand, marched into the semi-final with another straight sets win with the scoreline reading 6-3, 6-1.
Semi-Final: Iga Swiatek vs Nadia Podoroska
Like Swiatek, Nadia Podoroska from Argentina had a dream run at the French Open. And the Argentinian’s morale was on a high especially after a spectacular straight sets win over Elina Svitolina in the previous round. It was surely going to be a tasty affair as both the upcoming talents were seeking to reach their maiden Grand Slam final appearance. What seemed like a delicious contest, it turned out to be an insipid one. Well, the scoreline suggested so. Swiatek brushed aside the woman from Argentina by dropping just three games in the match, and entered her first-ever final without even dropping a single set. The confidence was high but it wasn’t going to be easy. She would be facing Sofia Kenin, who at the beginning of the year, won her maiden Grand Slam at the Australian Open.
Final: Iga Swiatek vs Sofia Kenin
The final hurdle in the form of American Sofia Kenin was there for Iga Swiatek to conquer. But she knew it wasn’t going to be easy against the current (2020) Women’s Singles Australian Open champion. She had to begin well, and she did exactly that with a great service hold and followed that up by breaking Kenin’s service game. It was a good start nonetheless, but Kenin clawed her way back into the contest. The pendulum kept swinging until Swiatek broke twice at the end to take home the first set 6-4. The Pole was halfway there and it was important for the young teen to not get carried away. She was serving first up in the second set and it was essential for her to hold serve. But unfortunately, Kenin got a break point opportunity and grabbed it with both hands. At that moment it seemed as though Kenin would likely make a comeback into the match, but the American faltered in her service games thereafter. She lost all her three service games and was unable to break her opponent’s serve.
And that was that young Iga Swiatek jumped in delight after the final point was won. She beat Kenin 6-4, 6-1, and did not drop even a single set. She got her hands on her first-ever WTA title and it was a big one. By winning Roland Garros, she became the first-ever player from Poland to win a Grand Slam. A huge achievement for the teen, who is surely going to be a player to watch out for in the near future!
Congratulations, Iga Swiatek!