Iga Swiatek wins French Open two years after Youth Olympic gold

The 19-year-old beat reigning Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin in straight sets to become Poland's first Grand Slam singles winner.

By Ken Browne

Iga Swiatek has ripped up this history books at Roland Garros.

The 19-year-old, who won doubles gold at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games, defeated Sofia Kenin 6-4 6-1 to become Poland's first ever tennis Grand Slam singles winner.

Swiatek came into the tournament at 54 in the world rankings, the lowest for any French Open women's champion.

She is also the youngest player to win in Paris since Rafael Nadal, who was also 19, claimed his first title back in 2005.

Oh, and she was also the first woman to win the tournament without dropping a set since Justine Henin in 2007.

"It's crazy for me because I was watching Rafael (Nadal), every year, how he lifts the trophy, it's crazy that I'm in the same place." - Iga Swiatek

Ruthless Swiatek takes the title

Reigning Australian Open champ Kenin had no answer to the nerveless Pole who swept into a 3-0 lead.

Anything to do with the Guns N'Roses hit 'Welcome to the Jungle' which she listens to before getting on court?


Kenin did break back to make it 4-5 in the opening set with a blazing backhand return, but Swiatek broke back immediately to take the first set 6-4.

The second set was one-way traffic with Swiatek racing through it in just 31 minutes to secure her historic triumph.

In the victory ceremony, she admitted, "First of all, I'm not very good at speeches."

"I want to thank every person who made this tournament possible because in these times it was pretty hard for the Federation... I'm pretty happy that we can still do our job and enjoy and entertain people."

"It's crazy for me because I was watching Rafael (Nadal), every year, how he lifts the trophy, it's crazy that I'm in the same place."

"I want to thank all the fans and people who are watching in Poland, I know it's pretty crazy back home."

Olympic omen

It was the first time in the Open era that a Polish player – male or female – has made the final at Roland Garros in singles.

She’s also the first player from Poland to make a major final since Agnieszka Radwanska was runner-up to Serena Williams at Wimbledon in 2012.

There is Olympic history on Swiatek's side too with her father Tomasz rowing for Poland in the quadruple sculls at Seoul 1988.

Then, of course, Swiatek Junior won a women's doubles gold medal at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires two years ago alongside Kaja Juvan.

The Slovenian caused an upset of her own at Roland Garros, knocking out Rio 2016 silver medallist and three-time Slam winner Angelique Kerber in the first round.

But it is Swiatek, who won the Wimbledon junior title in 2018, who made a lasting impression in Paris and will be a threat at Slams to come, and Tokyo 2020.


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