World number one Swiatek reaches second French Open final, streches win streak to 34

Polish world number one Swiatek reached her second French Open final on Thursday with a straight-sets victory over Russian Daria Kasatkina, stretching her win streak to 34 matches in the process.

Published : Jun 02, 2022 19:55 IST , PARIS

World number one Iga Swiatek of Poland celebrates after her semifinal win over Russian Daria Kasatkina in the French Open on Thursday.
World number one Iga Swiatek of Poland celebrates after her semifinal win over Russian Daria Kasatkina in the French Open on Thursday.

World number one Iga Swiatek of Poland celebrates after her semifinal win over Russian Daria Kasatkina in the French Open on Thursday.

Iga Swiatek continued her march towards a second French Open title in three years when she demolished Russian Daria Kasatkina 6-2, 6-1 to reach the final and extend her winning streak to a jaw-dropping 34 on Thursday.

The world number one conceded an early break, but made the most of Kasatkina's string of unforced errors, peppering court Philippe Chatrier with winners.

Poland's Swiatek, the 2020 champion, has not lost since February and has matched Serena William's winning run from 2013, having now lost only two sets in her last four tournaments.

She will meet  American teenager Coco Gauff, who beat Italy's Martina Trevisan in the other semifinal, on Saturday's showdown.

Swiatek again played with a ribbon in the colours of the Ukrainian flag pinned to her hat against her Russian opponent.


Russian and Belarusian players are allowed to compete at Roland Garros but will have to sit out Wimbledon as All England Club officials barred competitors from the two countries due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a "special military operation".

Belarus has been a key staging area for the invasion.

"Pretty special moment. Yeah, I'm really emotional. I'm so grateful to be in this place and you know, be healthy and be able to play my game. It's amazing and I love playing here," said Swiatek.

"Right after my first year there was COVID and I was not able to see how many Polish people would come. It's overwhelming.

"I try to treat every match the same way. When I realise this is one of the biggest matches of the season, it could stress me out."

Swiatek started with a double fault but held and broke in the second game, only for Kasatkina to break back and level for 2-2.

The Russian's game, however, was riddled with unforced errors and Swiatek collected free points to steal her opponent's serve again for 4-2.

She then won eight points in a row to wrap up the opening set with a crosscourt backhand return that left Kasatkina with her feet stuck on the red dirt.

Swiatek, looking to become the fourth woman since 2000 - after Justine Henin, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova - to lift the Suzanne Lenglen Cup twice, kept her foot on the gas to take the early lead in the second set.

But Kasatkina, who had lost all their three encounters in straight sets this season, stemmed the bleeding with a hold for 1-1.

It was only a brief relief for the world number 20, who was being bludgeoned by Swiatek's precise and powerful forehands.

The top seed won all the remaining games, allowing a sorry Kasatkina only nine points in the second set, and finished it off with an ace.

I was too emotional, says Kasatkina after the loss

Kasatkina put her crushing defeat down to nerves but the Russian will leave Roland Garros in confident mood having reached her maiden Grand Slam semi-final.

"The thing is I was too emotional today, and I couldn't handle the nerves the way I was able to do the previous matches," the former world number 10 told reporters. "I think that's normal.

"It was going on and off, on and off. I mean, before the match I was actually feeling not bad, but as soon as I stepped on the court, I don't know how to describe exactly the emotions and what you feel inside yourself. But was not usual.

"I have to get used to it and try to find the ways how to manage these kind of nerves. So I'm happy that I experienced this one. Definitely, I will try to do better next time."

Kasatkina will take confidence from her run on the Parisian clay.

"It's best result in a Grand Slam for me," she said. "I'm very happy with the level and with everything what was going on these two weeks.

"Winning matches always gives you confidence, and as my coach said, the best medicine is to win matches."

Kasatkina, who will not be able to play this month's Wimbledon because of the ban on Russian players following Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, will rest for a couple of days before starting preparations for the grass season.

"I'm already not in the match, so I'm already thinking about the future and how I have to manage the road to the grass courts, which is good that I'm not in drama mode right now," she said with a broad smile.

"Sometimes you have to accept what life gives you and go with this. I'm pretty happy with what life's giving me now." 

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