PARIS – Iga Swiatek has not lost since February, looks undefeated at the moment, and is now a two-time French Open champion.
Coco Gauff made her first Grand Slam final at just 18, and didn’t stand a chance, like most opponents against Swiatek lately.
Top-ranked Swatek beat Gauff 6-1 6-3 in the final at Roland Garros on Saturday to add to their 2020 Cup there and extend their winning streak to 35 matches.
Swiatek’s undefeated one-on-one race by Venus Williams in 2000 is equaled as the longest of this century.
Swiatek has a game that works on all surfaces, but her greatest victories to date have come on red clay.
On the warmest day of the tournament, the temperature was 28°C, and while forecasts foreshadowed thunderstorms, there were a few puffs of white in the blue skies above Stade Philippe Chartier at first.
Gauff didn’t have the best of starts, there were a few early tensions that would be understandable from any player making their debut on this stage.
The player on the other side of the net definitely had a lot to do with the way things went.
Swiatek broke straight from the start, with great help from Gauff, who fired a forehand into the net, and a double fault – drawing some sighs of “Awwwww” from a supportive crowd – threw a forehand into the net, pushing another long forehand.
When Gauff’s forehand betrayed her in the lead again, she was broken again to trail 3-0 after just 15 minutes of play. Soon, the score was 4-0 in favor of Swiatek.
Not in all cases, of course, but quite often, Roland Garros spectators tend to lend their support to the underdogs and any player that falls behind in a particular match. Both apply to Gauff. So there was a flood of shouts.”Alize, Coco!“There were frequent cries of her two-syllable first name. One fan shouted ‘Coco, you can do it!'”
When Gauff climbed onto the board by holding on to 4-1, the applause and roar were just right for picking up a group, not just one game.
When things seemed to move away from her, Gough slapped her on the thigh, covered her eyes, shook her head, or looked at her parents in the stands.
What you never do is hesitate or give up on anything.
Gauff started the second set by breaking Swiatek for the only time, then held on to a 2-0 lead. Could this now be a much closer competition? Can Joff push Swiatek to the third set?
no. Swiatek quickly recalibrated and reasserted herself, breaking back for 2 – all as Gauff’s penchant for mistakes returned.
Swiatek not only wins, but wins easily, having already racked up 16 sets with a 6-0 score in 2022 – and that’s only in early June.
The only Polish player to win a singles trophy at a Grand Slam, Swiatek does so with a combination of a heavy forehand loaded with a top spin – just like someone she loves so much, 13-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal, who will take on Casper Rudd in the men’s. Last Sunday – and a match in all stadiums, full of variety and appreciation for preparing moves early during a point. She is very similar to a chess player.
Swiatek has other traits as well, such as strong footwork that allows her to play defense when needed.
Also key to Swiatek’s presence, and rapidly burgeoning aura, is her calmness on the court. She traveled on tour with a sports psychologist, who was in the guest box at Swiatek on Saturday, working on various elements of her professional and personal life.
That includes focusing on maintaining focus and setting priorities, such as determination that it is still very new in this whole business of trying to win Grand Slam titles that I decided it was best not to attend the Champions League final in Paris last weekend is something to do. Nadal.