World number one Iga Swiatek beat Croatian qualifier Jana Fett in her first-round match at Wimbledon on Tuesday, clinching her 36th victory in a row and setting a new WTA record of the longest unbeaten streak since 2000.
The previous record of the longest winning streak, 35 matches, in women's tennis in the 21st century was held by former world number one and five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams.
Top-seeded Swiatek came out all guns blazing and took the opening set 6-0 on the Centre Court at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. Fett put up a much better fight in the second set to go 3-1 up. However, the 21-year-old Polish player won five straight games to seal the tie.
“It’s my first match on grass this season, so I knew it’s going to be tricky,” Swiatek said in her on-court interview. “I’m just figuring out how to play here and trying to implement all the stuff that we were practicing on.”
“The second set, at the beginning I lost my focus a little bit and she used that pretty well."
Swiatek, who won the junior title at Wimbledon in 2018, will next face Dutchwoman Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove in the second round.
Swiatek climbed up to the number one spot in the rankings soon after Australian Open winner Ash Barty announced her retirement in March and has been on top ever since.
Swiatek has not lost a match since her 6-4, 1-6, 6-7 (4) defeat against Latvian Jelena Ostapenko in the second round in Dubai in February this year.
She bagged the titles at Doha Masters, Indian Wells Masters, Miami Masters, Stuttgart Open, Italian Open before winning her second French Open.
Gauff, Krejcikova, Badosa advance to second round
Coco Gauff, who lost to Swiatek in this year's French Open final, also won her opening match. The 11th-seeded American beat Elena-Gabriela Ruse of Romania 2-6, 6-3, 7-5.
Gauff got the go-ahead break in the third set at 5-5 on her sixth break point of the game when Ruse double-faulted.
In her two previous appearances at the All England Club, Gauff reached the fourth round.
Barbora Krejcikova, who won the French Open in 2021 to split Swiatek's two titles there, also advanced to the second round. The 13th-seeded Czech defeated Maryna Zanevska of Belgium 7-6 (4), 6-3.
No. 4 Paula Badosa, No. 5 Maria Sakkari, No. 12 Jelena Ostapenko, No. 20 Amanda Anisimova and No. 33 Shuai Zhang of China also advanced.
Among the seeded players to lose was Olympic champion Belinda Bencic. The 14th-seeded Swiss player lost to Qiang Wang of China 6-4, 5-7, 6-2.
No. 18 Jil Teichmann of Switzerland and No. 27 Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan also lost.
(With inputs from AP)