Iga Swiatek suddenly looked like a loser in the French Open final. His punches deflected. His confidence is gone. His early big lead is also gone.
She continued to watch in the stands, seeking advice from her coach and sports psychologist.
It was a lot wrong until she was two games away from losing to unseeded Karolina Muchová on Saturday. And then, when it needed it most, Swiatek turned on Swiatek. Number 1 player in women’s tennis for more than a year. Defending champion at Roland Garros. violent. Decisive. Total clarity.
Swatek overcame a tense second set and third set deficit to defeat Macová 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 to win her third French Open and fourth Grand Slam title.
“I really like being here,” Swiatek said. “Basically, this is my favorite place on the tour.”
Looking as comfortable as possible at the start, she led 3-0 after just 10 minutes on Court Philippe Chatrier – picking up 12 points out of 15 – and then also went up 3-0 in the second set, before Macová made things even more interesting.
Swiatek looked a bit restless, unable to find the right moves and unable to understand why. Players are allowed to communicate with their coaches, but whatever Tomas Wiktorowski – or sports psychologist Daria Abramović – might have tried to tell Swiatek, the message either didn’t get through or it didn’t work right away.
“I know how important teams are to our sport. Even though it is an individual sport, I wouldn’t be here without my team,” Swiatek said afterwards. “So really, thanks guys. Sorry to be so annoying” — and I let the sentence end there.
Muchova won five of her six matches before earning one set. She carried that momentum into the deciding set, coming on twice in the second half. In that time, Swiatek has returned to her usual brand of clean and squeaky tennis, whizzing around the red clay with stellar defense and only finding opportunities to try and win.
And I got the last three games of the game. When it ended in a double fault by Muchova, Swiatek dropped her bat, leaned forward and covered her face in tears.
The 22-year-old Polish has won the French Open twice in a row, as well as her 2020 title there and won the US Open last September. This makes Swiatek the youngest woman to hold four Grand Slam titles since Serena Williams was 20 when she reached the milestone at the 2002 US Open.
Swiatek is also the third woman in the Pro Era to start 4-0 in the Grand Final, joining Monica Seles and Naomi Osaka.
“It was very close, but so far,” said Machuva, who is ranked 43 and competing in a slam dunk tournament for the first time.
“It happens when you play against one of the best players: Iga,” Macová said. So once again I would like to warmly congratulate you and your team. »
The competition was full of sections where Swiatek – the dominant player in women’s tennis for over a year now – was better, and sections where Muchova was.
Each time one woman or the other seemed to take over, each time either rose high enough for the end to be in sight, the road curved in a different direction.
Swiatek’s good start meant little. Just like Macová 2-0 4-3 in the third set.
One point in particular captured the essence of Muchova’s reluctance to stand alone. Serving up for the second set on Deuce while leading 6-5, Macová lunged into the net and made a good save to his right of a forehand. Swiatek then sent her sprinting left, and Muchova somehow slipped and stretched to launch a backhand while losing her balance. Her clubs fell, and so she fell, and she put her hands on the clay to straighten herself.
The ball somehow fell to take the point, and a moment later, as Swiatek’s backhand sailed long, Muchova raised his right fist and let out a whoop.
Suddenly everyone became a group. So the outcome is uncertain.
So the next question became: Can Muchova pull off another impressive comeback, like she did in Thursday’s semi-final? In that match, against second seed Aryna Sabalenka, the defending Australian Open champion, Moshova had a match point as she led 5–2 in the third set and then completely turned the tables, taking 20 of her last 24 points and every one of her last five points. points. . matches to win.
This result made Makova 5-0 in his career against foes in the top three. Any hopes she had of a 6-0 victory were dashed.
Once again, Swiatek has produced what it takes to get the win. Once again she was holding a trophy – though she gave it away at a post-match party, knocking her out on top.