Iga Swiatek Steamrolls Through the French Open, Besting Sofia Kenin in the Final

Iga Swiatek Steamrolls Through the French Open, Besting Sofia Kenin in the Final


University, it appears, will have to wait.

Swiatek did not drop a set at Roland Garros, befuddling the likes of the women’s world No. 1 and former champion Simona Halep, whom she dispatched in the round of 16 with her powerful forehand and angled groundstrokes. She lost only 28 games the entire tournament, and no more than five games in any match, facing stiff competition even though several top players did not enter the tournament, including No. 1-ranked Ashleigh Barty and the United States Open winner Naomi Osaka. Other contenders, like Serena Williams, struggled to make the transition to clay after playing in the U.S. Open last month.

After her defeat of Halep, the rest of the tournament, she said, felt like bonus rounds.

“It was so crazy for me winning against Simona that I already thought about the tournament as, like, my lifetime achievement,” Swiatek said. “Really, I had no expectations. I knew it’s going to be tough in the final. I didn’t want to stress a lot about it, so I just told myself that I don’t care and I tried to believe in that.”

In the final, Swiatek took Kenin’s intensity and raised her a level, pounding 25 winners against 17 unforced errors. She wasn’t completely impervious to nerves, squandering one set point while serving 5-3 in the first with a netted backhand on her way to having her serve broken. But she broke Kenin back to close out the first set.

Kenin, a 21-year-old American, had played the second week of the tournament with her left leg taped because of an upper thigh injury that grew more nettlesome as rounds piled on. With Swiatek leading by 2-1 and on serve in the second set, Kenin requested a medical timeout and left the court. She returned with her leg heavily wrapped but had no answer for Swiatek’s “spinny forehands,” as Kenin described them, or her angled shots. Swiatek, smelling blood on the red clay, closed out the second set in 31 minutes.

“I’m not going to use this as an excuse, but my leg obviously was not the best,” said Kenin, who finished with 10 winners and 23 unforced errors. “It’s obviously disappointing.”



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