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Iga Swiatek caps off unprecedented five-month, 35-match win streak run with second French Open title

Iga Swiatek of Poland celebrates with the trophy after winning Roland Garros for the second time. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

By: Thomas Cluck

A couple months ago, women’s tennis was looking for its next dominant force. Someone to step up to the plate and assert themselves as THE player to beat in the game. A quiet tide was building, off in the background, away from the spotlight.

Following her third major title at home at the Australian Open, then world number one Ashleigh Barty stunned the tennis world by retiring- for a second time- this time on top. Who would replace Barty and become the unquestioned force in tennis? A 21 year-old Pole named Iga Swiatek.

Since February, the storm that is Swiatek’s run has formed and has not stopped since, wiping away the rest of women’s tennis with 35 straight wins, six titles, and now a second French Open title to go with her 2020 Roland Garros win. 

After trophies in Doha, Indian Wells, Miami, Stuttgart, and Rome, Swiatek came to the terre battue of the French capital with a clear goal and a giant target on her back.

“It is like basically the hardest part of the job, I would say, because you can see on Grand Slams that there are a lot of surprises. It’s not easy to cope with all that different atmosphere and the pressure, because everybody is preparing for the Grand Slam always,” added the top seed. 

“For me, I felt the baggage. The hardest thing is like not letting yourself think about that and over analyze and not letting yourself think about all the numbers and the odds.”

That baggage was clear at times as the dominant, seemingly effortless, run of Swiatek saw clear bumps and hurdles in the middle of the tournament in tough third and fourth round challenges against unseeded players Danka Kovinic and Qinwen Zheng, respectively. Sets were close and the unstoppable Iga even dropped one. But it didn’t stop her as it had nine of her fellow top ten peers who crashed out of Roland Garros before the second week even arrived.

The months of building are finally over and the culmination of a run of dominance the WTA has rarely seen has been capped off Saturday in Paris with a comprehensive 6-1, 6-3 win over the youngest budding star in the game, 19 year-old American phenom Coco Gauff in her first major final. 

“I’m pretty happy every piece has finally come together. Two years ago winning this title was something amazing. Honestly, I wouldn’t expect it ever but this time I feel like I worked hard, did everything to get here. Even though it was pretty tough, the pressure was big.” “It feels amazing really, very different from 2020. I feel more prepared, more solid. I can celebrate a little bit more. I think in 2020 the main thing that I felt was confusion, because I have never really believed 100 percent that I can actually win a Grand Slam,” said Swiatek.  

“This time it was pure work and pure… I don’t know. Just with everything that was going on, I’m also more aware of how it is to win a Grand Slam and what it takes and how every puzzle has to come together and basically every aspect of the game has to work. With that awareness, I was even more happy and even more proud of myself, because in 2020 it was all, I just felt that I’m lucky. This time I felt like I really did the work,” commented the Pole. 

Securing her second Grand Slam title also tied the number-one ranked Swiatek with seven-time major champion Venus Williams for the longest win streak of the century at 35 matches, a staggering number that somehow doesn’t do the ease and dominance of the Pole’s run justice. You can count on one hand the number of sets Swiatek has lost in the last five months. She barely loses games, least of all in finals like this championship match.

Swiatek, a naturally intellectual and complex character, resembles a terminator robot on court, showcasing that relentlessness in her dominant start over an at times over-matched, out-of-sorts Gauff. It took 23 minutes, up 4-0 already, for Swiatek to even surrender a game on her way to a 6-1 opening set.

The second set was a bit more competitive as Gauff broke to begin affairs and went up 2-0 before the top-seeded Pole took control back, reeling off five straight games before later serving the title out in just over an hour of play on the famed red-clay dirt of Court Philippe-Chatrier.
“So basically that really hit me, you know. Obviously winning a Grand Slam too, but this one was pretty special because I felt like I’ve done something that nobody ever done, and maybe it’s going to be even more,” explained the world number one.

“Yeah, this one was special.”

Hoisting a second Coupe Suzanne Lenglen capped off a totally unexpected, entirely unprecedented five-month run for women’s tennis’ new unequivocal standard bearer Iga Swiatek. With the grass of Wimbledon’s All England Club now quickly approaching, the question is will Swiatek’s dominance continue, or will a new woman add another twist to this 2022 Grand Slam season.

If today was any indication, that answer will lie solely on the racquet of Iga.