Unstoppable? Iga Swiatek Heavy Favorite for Second French Open Title

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Driving a 28-match unbeaten run into Roland Garros and a winner of her previous 5 tournaments, Iga Swiatek is the plain favorite for a second French Open title in three years.

For the reason that shock retirement of world primary Ashleigh Barty, the 20-year-old Swiatek has swept apart all-comers and remodeled herself into the participant to beat in girls’s tennis.

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The Pole hasn’t misplaced since falling to a different former Roland Garros champion, Jelena Ostapenko, in Dubai in February. Her successful streak is the longest on the WTA tour since Serena Williams gained 34 matches in a row in 2013.

“It’s fairly laborious to explain it as a result of all these tournaments that I’ve gained appear fairly surreal proper now. I really feel like simply persevering with the identical issues that I did earlier than actually was the important thing to that,” Swiatek mentioned after defending her Rome crown.

She is barely the second participant to win 4 WTA 1000 titles in a season.

Swiatek dominated on the laborious courts in Doha, Indian Wells and Miami, and made a seamless swap to clay — her triumph in Rome got here after she skipped Madrid to relaxation following one other victory in Stuttgart.

“Truthfully I’m going to do the identical approach I’ve finished right here, additionally at different tournaments,” mentioned Swiatek.

“I’m going to attempt to do step-by-step, simply consider the subsequent match as I did in these tournaments.

“If I’m going to deal with it as some other event, I believe it’s going to be fantastic and I’m going to have the ability to preserve it that approach.”

Williams, who turns 41 in September, has not performed since retiring within the first spherical at Wimbledon final yr, and her long-time coach Patrick Mouratoglou is now working with two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep, who gained her first main in Paris in 2018.

Unpredictable

In contrast to the lads’s occasion the place Rafael Nadal has gained 13 of the previous 17 editions, a first-time girls’s Grand Slam champion has been topped in every of the previous six French Opens.

Most just lately, Barbora Krejcikova emerged as an unlikely victor, the primary participant to win each the singles and doubles at Roland Garros since Mary Pierce in 2000.

Nonetheless, the Czech world quantity two faces a race in opposition to time to get better from an arm harm that has sidelined her since late February. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, final yr’s runner-up, has already pulled out.

Third-ranked Paula Badosa reached the quarter-finals at Roland Garros a yr in the past, whereas Maria Sakkari was one level away in opposition to Krejcikova from changing into the primary Greek lady to play in a Grand Slam ultimate.

Aryna Sabalenka is exhibiting indicators of discovering her greatest kind after struggling to start out the yr, whereas 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu has soared again into the highest 75 following her newest battle with harm.

Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur, the primary Arab or African participant to seize a WTA 1000 title together with her victory in Madrid, has goals of replicating her 2011 junior triumph on the Parisian clay.

Jabeur, 27, has made three clay finals this season — dropping to Belinda Bencic in Charleston and Swiatek in Rome — and arrives on the French Open at a career-high rating of sixth.

All eyes can be on Naomi Osaka as, harm allowing, because the Japanese star returns to the scene of her dramatic withdrawal following the bitter fall-out from her media boycott.

Osaka subsequently sat out Wimbledon and later revealed her battle with melancholy and nervousness. The four-time Grand Slam champion made her comeback on the Tokyo Olympics, lighting the Olympic cauldron.

The 24-year-old, the highest-paid feminine athlete on the earth, has by no means gone past the third spherical at Roland Garros in 5 earlier makes an attempt.

She misplaced the Miami ultimate to Swiatek in April, however exited within the second spherical in Madrid earlier than pulling out of Rome with an Achilles downside.

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