Swiatek bulldozes way to fourth Roland Garros crown

WORLD number one Iga Swiatek is getting that air of invincibility around her on the Paris clay after dismantling first-time Grand Slam finalist Jasmine Paolini in the 2024 French Open final. Swiatek is just 23 years-old and notched up her fifth Grand Slam title, four of which have come in Parish. Her most recent was via a 6-2 6-1 blitz of Paolini to make it three consecutive trophies.

Her four Roland Garros trophies along with a US Open crown means she is just one Grand Slam title short of matching the all-time greatest player in Serena Williams at the same age. She became the first player to win three consecutive French Open titles since Justine Henin in 2007.

“I love this place, honestly,” Swiatek said post-match. “I wait every year to come back here. 

“I was almost out of the tournament in the second round, so thank you guys for having my back and cheering for me, I also needed to believe that this moment was possible.” 

Incredibly, Paolini started the match well who broke Swiatek in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. That looked promising until the Polish star put the foot down and plowed through 11 of the next 12 games to take out in the match in just 68 minutes, ending the Italian’s fairytale run.

“I think to play you here is the toughest challenge in our sport,” Paolini said. “But I think I really enjoyed the match – it was important to step on the court and enjoy the moment, because it’s a good moment for me.” 

To her credit, Paolini avoided a second set bagel by holding in the sixth game of the set after a run of 10 straight games went the way of the world number one. It was incredible to see after Swiatek faced a match point against in the second round when Naomi Osaka had her on the ropes.

“Even though I was really close to being out of it against Naomi, I just survived that match and then played with huge confidence [after],” Swiatek said. “I’m just proud of myself that I didn’t stop and the pressure didn’t squeeze me down. 

“Honestly I just felt better and better every day. Also the weather got hotter and I think it suits my game.”

Swiatek won 69 per cent of both her first and second serve points, only dropping 13 on serve for the entire match. By comparison, Paolini only won 18 points on-serve, including a poor 31 per cent (12 of 31) off her first serve. The Pole hit 18 winners to seven and had five less unforced errors (13-18).

Dropping just 11 games in the second week at a Grand Slam – fourth round onwards – is an equal record with Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert, who achieved the feat at the US Open in 1983 and 1976 respectively.

It was not all doom and gloom for Paolini despite the heavy loss, with the Italian rising up to a career-high seventh in the world and taking away plenty of memories from the tournament. She will now be seeded highly at the All-England Club as the grass season kicks off.

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