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Iga Swiatek: the unstoppable superstar of women’s tennis

Polish world No.1 is now on a 35-game winning streak after her French Open triumph

Iga Swiatek is a two-time grand slam champion after a dazzling display in the French Open final against Coco Gauff. The Pole, 21, beat the American teenager 6-1, 6-3 to win her second title in three years at Roland Garros. 

Not since “Serena Williams in her prime” had there been “as strong a favourite for a grand slam women’s singles title” as Swiatek, said Jonathan Jurejko on BBC Sport. The top seed, who also won Roland Garros in 2020, “underlined why she was the red-hot favourite” by winning in straight sets for her sixth successive title.

For 68 minutes on Saturday, the women’s world No.1 “captivated the tennis world”, said D’Arcy Maine on ESPN.com. Swiatek showed “blistering, athletic play” to dismantle “teenage phenom” Gauff, winning the “first four games of the match – and never looked back”. It was her 35th straight victory and she leaves Paris as the “dominant force in women’s tennis, and one who is poised for future greatness”. 

‘It’s something special’

Taking her career title count to nine overall, Swiatek has “cemented her status at the top of the women’s game”, said Courtney Nguyen on WTATennis.com. She has “amassed a longer winning streak” than 23-time major champion Serena Williams, “who ran off 34 wins in 2013”, and has tied with Venus Williams for the longest streak in the 2000s.

After going 5-0 to win Doha, 6-0 to win Indian Wells, 6-0 to win Miami, 2-0 in the Billie Jean King Cup, 4-0 to win Stuttgart, 5-0 to win Rome and now 7-0 to win Roland Garros, Swiatek “joins some very rare company”, said John Berkok on Tennis.com. She is just the “eighth woman in the entire Open Era to have a winning streak of 35 or more matches in a row”.

It may seem “pretty weird”, but “having that 35th win and kind of doing something more than Serena did, it’s something special”, Swiatek said. “Because I always wanted to have some kind of a record. In tennis, it’s pretty hard after Serena’s career. So basically that really hit me.”

At the top of the WTA rankings the gap has widened between her and the rest of the field, Berkok added on Tennis.com. After capturing her second slam title on the “terre battue”, she now has a 4,305-point lead over new world No.2 Anett Kontaveit – 8,631 to 4,326. 

Needing a ‘plan B’ in case tennis didn’t work out 

Swiatek has beaten the odds to become the next “tennis superstar”, said Tumaini Carayol in The Guardian. She “displayed her early promise as a junior”, but it took a long time for her to “believe that she could achieve the career that she is currently building”. Reflecting on her journey from a junior to world No.1, Swiatek admitted that even in 2020, when she won the French Open for the first time, she still felt like she “needed a plan B in case tennis is not gonna work out”.

When Swiatek arrived in Paris two years ago, “she was a virtual unknown”, said Maine on ESPN.com. Now, it seems as though the WTA has found the “elusive superstar talent who can consistently contend for major titles on different surfaces – and do what so few have been able to do since Serena Williams was in her prime”.

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