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Iga Swiatek: World No 1 races to third straight French Open title against Jasmine Paolini


World No 1 Iga Swiatek claimed a fourth French Open title in five years with victory against surprise finalist Jasmine Paolini in Saturday’s women’s final.

The top seed from Poland brushed aside Italian underdog Paolini 6-2 6-1 in an hour and eight minutes.

‘King of Clay’ Rafael Nadal may have played his last French Open this year but Swiatek comprehensively proved once again she is also Roland Garros royalty.

She is the first woman to win three consecutive Roland Garros titles since Justine Henin in 2007 and only the third to achieve the feat in Open history, along with Monica Seles.

Swiatek is undefeated in Paris since 2021, 21 matches ago, and has won 34 of her 36 matches here, a record matched only by Seles and Chris Evert.

Evert and Martina Navratilova, with nine Roland Garros titles between them, presented the runners-up plate to Paolini and the winners’ trophy to Swiatek.

“It’s amazing to be here. I love this place. I wait every year to come back here,” said Swiatek.

“I was almost out of the tournament in the second round – it’s been a really emotional tournament.”

Since surviving a match point in the second round against Naomi Osaka, in arguably the match of the tournament, Swiatek’s route to the final has been more like a procession.

She won 20 games in a row over three matches against Marie Bouzkova (6-4 6-2), Anastasia Potapova (6-0 6-0) and Marketa Vondrousova (6-0 6-2), before rolling over Coco Gauff 6-2 6-4 in the semi-final.

Such is her dominance there were even fears that Swiatek could threaten the record for the fastest match of 32 minutes when Steffi Graf pulverised Natasha Zvereva by the same score in the 1988 final.

In last 100 years, women to have won four French Open titles in a five-year span

Helen Wills (1928, 1929, 1930, 1932).

Justine Henin (2003, 2005, 2006, 2007).

Iga Swiatek (2020, 2022, 2023, 2024).

Facing the tall task of toppling Swiatek at her favourite hunting ground was Paolini, the diminutive Italian with Polish roots, who is in the midst of her most impressive season and was eyeing a maiden Grand Slam trophy.

The tenacious 28-year-old had never been past the second round at a Grand Slam until this year.

She survived a break point to hold in her first service game and then broke the No 1 in the next.

She was cheered on by a healthy Italian contingent including one noisy corner who formed a tricolour mosaic with their green, white and red t-shirts.

But the bear had been poked and Paolini only won four more points in the next five games as Swiatek raced to the opening set.

She had won 10 in a row before Paolini got on the board again, but Swiatek wrapped up her fifth Slam title moments later and sunk to her knees in celebration.

The Madrid and Rome champion also extended her winning streak on clay to 20 matches, with fans and analysts suggesting she is well on the way to becoming a clay-court great in the same bracket as 14-time French Open champion Nadal.

Paolini at least has another shot at a Roland Garros title, as she returns on Sunday for the doubles final alongside Italian partner Sara Errani.

“It’s been an intense 15 days but the best days of my life. I’m really proud of myself,” she said.

Image:
Swiatek vs Paolini: Tale of the Tape

Wilander: Iga can win five, six, seven titles

Mats Wilander on Eurosport:

“Four titles, she’s 23. I think she can win another five, six, seven because her style to me is very modern and she plays with a lot of spin so it’s not going to go anywhere so unless the other women learn how to do that she’s going to be winning Roland Garros for many, many, many years.

“But it’s tough to play like Iga because you’ve got to be so strong and have that racket head speed with all that top spin on the forehand, that’s why she’s unbeatable here to me.”

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