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How it happened: Iga Swiatek becomes Poland’s first Slam singles champ
Iga Swiatek claimed the first tour-level trophy of her career in Saturday’s Roland Garros final, dismissing Australian Open champ Sofia Kenin, 6-4, 6-1, to complete her run without dropping a set.
October 10, 2020
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Unseeded Iga Swiatek defeated No. 4 seed Sofia Kenin, 6-4, 6-1, to win her first tour-level title at Roland Garros on Saturday, making history as Poland’s first Grand Slam singles champion. Here’s a snapshot of what the two finalists told press following the final.
Swiatek: “I’m just proud of myself. I’ve done a great job past two weeks. I wasn’t expecting to win this trophy. It’s obviously amazing for me. It’s, like, life-changing experience.”
“I just did everything I’ve done in the previous rounds. I focused on technique and tactics. I tried to get rid of expectations, you know, just play one ball after another. I didn’t really care if I’m going to lose or win, as I said, like yesterday. So really, I think the main key was just keeping my expectations low.”
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.”
“I’m not going to use this as an excuse, but my leg obviously was not the best… After the first set I just felt it was so tight, I couldn’t move. That’s why I had to call the trainer. It just got worse. Yeah, it’s quite unfortunate it had to happen in this match. Like I said, she played really well. All credit to her.”
A match made in heaven
Jon Wertheim speaks with both finalists
Swiatek’s instant reaction
“I don’t know what’s going on. I’m so happy. I’m so glad that my family was here, finally. It’s just overwhelming for me, it’s crazy. Two years ago, I won a junior Grand Slam and right now, I’m here. It feels like just a short time,” she told Marion Bartoli.
TITLE TOWN! Swiatek storms to first major & tour-level crown
For the first time since Justine Henin in 2007, the Roland Garros women’s champ wins the title without dropping a set. Iga Swiatek completes a dream fortnight in dispatching Australian Open winner Sofia Kenin, 6-4, 6-1, becoming the first player from Poland to lift a major singles trophy. What a performance. 28 games lost in total in seven matches. Swiatek will rise from No. 54 to No. 17 come Monday.
Swiatek closing in on title
Sofia Kenin was broken after returning from her off-court medical timeout. Iga Swiatek had no problem testing the American’s agility and is pulling away in this match. The Pole leads, 6-4, 4-1.
Kenin leaves court for medical timeout
After being visited by the trainer during the first changeover of the second set, Sofia Kenin left the court to receive off-court treatment. Would appear its to re-tape/readdress her left leg. Swiatek is staying warm by hitting serves.
Finalists trade breaks to start Set 2
With a forehand return winner, Sofia Kenin broke Iga Swiatek to open the second set. The No. 4 seed was unable to back it up, as Swiatek immediately got back on serve, and held for 2-1. Per Courtney Nguyen of WTA Insider, no player has been able to win more than three service games against Swiatek during the tournament. (Kenin has posted two holds)
One set down, one to go for Swiatek
Though she was unable to serve out the first set, in the end it doesn’t cost Iga Swiatek. The 19-year-old breaks Sofia Kenin for a third time to open up a 6-4 advantage on the Australian Open champion. Swiatek had more than twice as many winners as Kenin (13 to 6) and two more errors than the American (15 to 13). Swiatek went an incredible 10 for 11 on rallies lasting nine shots or longer. Will Kenin look to shorten her exchanges? Swiatek is now 13 for 13 in singles sets played over this fortnight.
Kenin breaks to stay in first set
Sofia Kenin had three game points to hold for 4-4. Instead, Iga Swiatek dug in to break, and had a chance to take a one-set lead. Kenin, though, battled to save a set point, then got back on serve after striking a backhand crosscourt return winner. Have to think Swiatek will keep the serve away from that strike zone as much as possible moving forward.
Swiatek stays in front with tough hold
Playing a 10-point game on serve, Iga Swiatek ensured she wasn’t broken for the second successive time at the line. The Pole held for 4-3 and gave Sofia Kenin a taste of her own medicine with a backhand drop shot winner that was so well-disguised, Kenin immediately walked towards the other side of the court for the next point.
Kenin hits back, now 3-3
She was tight in the early stages, but Sofia Kenin has found her rhythm, especially on the backhand side to level the third set. Swiatek double-faulted in the deuce court to lose her break advantage and Kenin held to reach 3-3.
Early break lead for Swiatek
If Iga Swiatek was full of nerves walking on the court, she appears to have it under control. After posting a love hold to begin, the Pole broke Sofia Kenin in the American’s first service game. Swiatek would consolidate for 3-0, and has raced to take 12 of the first 15 points. Four winners and zero unforced errors for the Pole thus far.
Swiatek faces Kenin in first-time clash for Roland Garros crown
A new Grand Slam champion or winner of two majors in 2020? One of those outcomes will emerge after Saturday’s Roland Garros women’s final between Iga Swiatek and Sofia Kenin.
Swiatek looks to cap off a stunning fortnight that saw her take down last year’s finalist Marketa Vondrousova ahead of a stunning 6-1, 6-2 destruction of top seed and 2018 champion Simona Halep. The 19-year-old has not dropped a set in the tournament and like Kenin, came into Paris on the back of losing her only clay-court match. She is seeking her first tour-level title.
The American’s trip to another Grand Slam final is equally surprising, for Kenin lost, 6-0, 6-0, in her Rome tune-up and required three sets to win four of her first five rounds. Just as she did at the Australian Open, where she lifted her maiden major trophy, Kenin has improved with each match, highlighted by her 6-4, 7-5 semifinal win over No. 7 seed Petra Kvitova.
These two haven’t met since their junior days, when Swiatek defeated Kenin in the third round Roland Garros girls’ singles event four years ago. A LOT has happened since then, so safe to say that result is simply that: a result. With no rain in the forecast, the roof will be open for this intriguing championship showdown.