Paris: Capping off her flawless clay-court season, World No. 1 Iga Swiatek clinched the French Open singles title after beating No 18 seed Coco Gauff 6-1, 6-3 in the final, here on Saturday.
Two years ago, Iga Swiatek shocked the field by winning her first Roland Garros title as an unseeded teenager. This time, the polish star claimed her second French Open title by winning a staggering 35th consecutive match, tying Venus Williams for the best winning streak this century.
Venus’ historic run of 35 straight victories came in 2000. If Iga Swiatek manages to win her next match, she will hold the best winning streak of the century alone, and tie Monica Seles’s 36-match run from 1990. Another victory after that would tie Martina Hingis’s 37-match winning streak from 1997.
Iga Swiatek also becomes only the tenth woman to win multiple Roland Garros singles titles in the Open Era (since 1968). Having just turned 21 on Tuesday, Swiatek is the fourth-youngest player to triumph more than once in Paris — only Monica Seles, Stefanie Graf, and Chris Evert were younger when they did so.
She is also the youngest woman to win multiple majors since Maria Sharapova won her second Grand Slam title aged 19 at the 2006 US Open.
Swiatek’s latest triumph is her sixth title of the year, all coming in a row during her winning streak (following Doha, Indian Wells, Miami, Stuttgart and Rome). She is the first player to win six titles in a row since Justine Henin in 2007 and 2008.
On the other hand, Gauff, the third-youngest player to reach a Grand Slam singles final this century at 18 years and 84 days old, made a valiant effort in her first major final, collecting enough games to just surpass that average. However, Swiatek was too tough at key moments, converting five of 10 break points and claiming 60 per cent of points off of Gauff’s second service.
Swiatek cracked the match open after a lengthy third game when she converted her fifth breakpoint to take a double-break lead for 3-0. At 5-1, a stirring backhand return winner forced an error from Gauff, giving Swiatek her third break of the day and a one-set lead.
Gauff created some intrigue right away in the second set, drawing errors from the top seed as she earned her only break of the match en route to 2-0. However, Swiatek regrouped, finding sterling returns to get back on track and win the next five games successively.
Gauff gritted out a tough hold for 5-3, forcing Swiatek to serve for the championship, but the World No 1 was up to the task, as she has been all season. On her first championship point, Gauff sent a service return long, and Swiatek grasped her second major trophy.