Swiatek ousts Osaka at rainy Roland Garros

CURRENT world number one Iga Swiatek was forced to save a match point in order to defeat former world numbers one Naomi Osaka at Roland Garros and reach the third round overnight. On a day severely impacted by rain, just a handful of matches were completed on the Paris clay, with all the outdoor contests either suspended midway through, or never starting.

In the battle of the Grand Slam champions, it was Swiatek who came away with the win, though in a far tougher match than many had envisaged. Needing to win the first set in a tiebreaker then go the distance in the decided, the Polish star had to overcome one of her worst sets in some time in between just to reach the Round of 32.

Swiatek won 7-6 1-6 7-5 in an epic match that lasted two hours and 57 minutes on Court Philippe-Chartrier. While the Pole is accustomed to brushing past her opponents more often than not, she found herself facing a match point in the 10th game of the third set when she was returning at 4-5 when Osaka hit a brilliant backhand winner.

Already on the ropes after Osaka raced out to a 5-2 lead courtesy of a break in the second game of the deciding set, Swiatek did not panic and instead won the next three points of that 10th game to break and level the set at 5-5. She managed reeled off five consecutive games from being 2-5 down to take the set 7-5, and the match, 7-6 1-6 7-5.

No doubt the crowd could hardly believe what they witnessed, with the current world number 134 playing at her peak like it was 2019 against an opponent who was incredible on clay. Having won the past two titles in the French capital, Swiatek had won 15 matches in a row at Roland Garros, but was forced to dig deep when the going got tough against an incredible Osaka.

“That was much more intense for a second-round match than I expected,” Swiatek said post-match. “She played really, really great tennis. For sure, I’m happy that she’s back.”

“Nowadays in women’s draw you can play Grand Slam champions early in the tournament. “It is pretty tricky because you know these players are really experienced. They also achieved many great things. So they have bigger kind of belief.”

In the deciding set, Osaka hit 22 unforced errors to her detriment, after only hitting 16 across the first two sets of the match. Swiatek had to weather the storm of 54 aces off Osaka’s racquet – for 37 of her own – while finishing with six less unforced errors (32-38).

Incredibly it was one of those matches where Osaka won more points, hit more winners and converted more break points (five to three) but still lost, with Swiatek able to step up when in mattered most. However if that is Osaka’s tennis level now, there will be may worried WTA Tour players when the grass season commences in a fortnight.

Across the courts there were just three other matches completed with third seed Coco Gauff too good for Slovenian Tamara Zidansek, while Ons Jabeur had to readjust after a poor second set similar to Swiatek in order to overcome Maria Camila Osorio Serrano, 6-3 1-6 6-3. Former Australian Open winner Sofia Kenin produced some fantastic tennis in the other match, defeating top ranked local hope Caroline Garcia in straight sets.

In the incomplete matches, American qualifier Katie Volynets played lights out tennis against former Roland Garros finalist Marketa Vondrousova to bagel her in the first set, before the fifth seed found her groove again to lead 4-1 in the second. Czech Marie Bouzkova was well on her way to victory against Croatian Jana Fett when the rain hit, while Leylah Fernandez was a break up on Xiyu Wang in the other match.


[1] Iga Swiatek (POL) defeated Naomi Osaka (JPN) 7-6 1-6 7-5
[3] Coco Gauff (USA) defeated Tamara Zidansek (SLO) 6-3 6-4
[8] Ons Jabeur (TUN) defeated Maria Camila Osorio Serrano (COL) 6-3 1-6 6-3
Sofia Kenin (USA) defeated [21] Caroline Garcia (FRA) 6-3 6-3


Katie Volynets (USA) leads [5] Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) 6-0 1-4
[31] Leylah Fernandez (CAN) leads Xiyu Wang (CHN) 5-3
Marie Bouzkova (RUS) leads Jana Fett (CRO) 6-2 1-0

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