PARIS (AP) – With the poise of a veteran and the shots of a champion, Polish teenager Iga Swiatek chose the ideal site for her first professional title: the French Open.
Without appearing in the rankings and just 54th in the women’s rankings, Swiatek swept the last six games to beat Sofia Kenin 6-4, 6-1 in the final at Roland Garros on Saturday.
Swiatek thus gave Poland their first singles title at a Grand Slam event.
When his winning right to a corner ended the game, Swiatek covered his mouth with his right hand and leaned in with a shake of his head.
“It’s crazy. Two years ago I won a Junior Grand Slam and now I am here. It was like yesterday, “Swiatek said, her voice cracking.” I feel overwhelmed. ”
Hard to believe? Maybe. It was only the seventh big that he disputed and he had never made it past the fourth round.
But its level of the last two weeks indicates that this outcome should not be surprising.
Swiatek, 19, is the first woman to become champion in Paris without giving up a single set since Justine Henin in 2007. She lost just 28 games in seven matches.
She is also the first teenager to win the Roland Garros women’s title since Iva Majoli in 1997.
And Swiatek rose to the throne with victories against poster opponents such as Simona Halep, the 2018 champion, and Marketa Vondrousova, last year’s finalist, both with scores 6-1, 6-2.
It was logical that Swiatek could subdue Kenin, the 21-year-old American who was looking to conquer her second big of 2020 after winning the Australian Open in February.
“A great tournament. A great match, “said Kenin, addressing Swiatek during the award ceremony.
Kenin was 16-1 in Grand Slam matches through Saturday. But he had to receive treatment for a discomfort in his left leg during the second set and exhibited his frustration by kicking his red-and-white racket after losing points.
And he ran into a very solid rival, someone who has just finished high school, who listens to Guns N ‘Roses’s “Welcome to the Jungle” to tune in on the dance floor and who travels with a psychologist and meditates during the changes on your side, breathing slowly with your eyes closed.
“Nothing but mental health,” Swiatek said. “Today was a really stressful day for me, so it was a bit more difficult.”
This weekend was the culmination of two unusual weeks.
The tournament was postponed from May-June to September-October due to the coronavirus pandemic; and the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in France forced the government to restrict the number of spectators at the complex, to 1,000 each day.
Several of the best rackets in women’s tennis were absent, including 2019 champion Ash Barty and Naomi Osaka, who won the US Open last month. Serena Williams, a 23-grade champion, retired prior to the second round with an injury.
After Kenin returned to the court at the start of the second set with a thick bandage on his left thigh, Swiatek needed just 12 minutes to certify victory, prevailing 25-10 in winners.