Iga Swiatek woke up today having never even won a WTA before. She’ll go to sleep as a Grand Slam champion.
The poised 19-year-old capped an incredible run at Roland Garros best Sofia Kenin 6-4, 6-1 in the final this afternoon at the French Open.
“I’m just proud of myself,” Swiatek said. “I’ve done a great job past two weeks. I wasn’t expecting to win this trophy. It’s obviously amazing for me. It’s a life-changing experience.”
Showing her innate ability to slide on the crushed red brick, the Pole raced out to a 3-0 lead in the first set. Kenin wouldn’t give in, recovering the break to level. But that’s was about as close as it got.
Swiatek got the better of a few long games and was able to neutralize Kenin’s backhand. Swiatek won 8 of the last 10 games to take the title.
“Everybody is stressed when they’re playing Grand Slam finals. I just knew that Sofia may also be stressed, that she’s not a machine,” Swiatek said. “I was aware that we can both struggle, and we’re probably not going to play our best tennis because it’s hard with so much pressure.
“But I jut did everything I’ve done in the previous rounds. I focused on technique and tactics. I tried to get rid of expectations, just play one ball after another. I didn’t really care if I’m going to lose or win. I think the main key was just keeping my expectations low.”
She becomes the first player to win the women’s draw without dropping a set since Justine Henin in 2007. And at a ranked of No. 54, she’s the lowest to win in Paris.
Swiatek finished with 25 winners 17 unforced while Kenin had just 10 winners to 23 unforced. Kenin was also crushed on her second serve winning just 4/17.
And of course she’s Poland’s first singles winner at this level, and first to make a final since Angieszka Radwanska at 2012 Wimbledon.
“I just feel like I kind of made history,” Swiatek added. “But I still think that Radwanska, she achieved a lot because she played on the top level of WTA for, I don’t know, 12 years. I don’t even know the number.
“I know there’s going to be a lot of people who is going to compare us. But I think I have to be really consistent for the next couple years to everybody to name me like the best player in Poland because still I have a lot to do. Still I think that’s kind of her place.”
The 21-year-old Kenin was aiming to become the first player since Angelique Kerber to win two Slams in the same season. But in her first clay final, the American’s run fell just short.
“She obviously played a really good match,” Kenin said. “She’s really hot right now, playing some really great tennis. I’m not going to use this as an excuse, but my leg obviously was not the best. It’s obviously disappointing.”
Swiatek is projected to move to No. 17 in the rankings while Kenin returns to No. 4.
Swiatek adds her name to a growing list of new Grand Slam champions the last four years.
“It’s inspiring,” Swiatek said. “I know that there are no limits. Even though you’re really young and you’re an underdog, you can do a lot in a sport like tennis.”
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