Swiatek wins French Open for 1st Slam
Published: 06:12 PM, 11 October 2020
Minutes after suddenly becoming a Grand Slam champion at age 19, while ranked just 54th, Iga Swiatek held a microphone during the French Open trophy ceremony and was hesitant for pretty much the only time over the past two weeks.
“First of all, I’m not very good at speeches,” Swiatek began, haltingly, “so, sorry, because I won my last tournament like two years ago, and I really don’t know who to thank.”
When she’s got a racket in her hand, it’s a whole different story. With the poise of a veteran and the shots of a champion, Swiatek wrapped up a dominating run at Roland Garros, grabbing the last six games to beat Sofia Kenin 6-4, 6-1 in Saturday’s final.
“Two years ago, I won a junior Grand Slam, and right now I’m here. It feels like such a short time,” Swiatek said, her voice cracking. “I’m just overwhelmed.”
Swiatek (pronounced shvee-ON’-tek) is the first Polish tennis player to win a major singles trophy and said, “I know it’s pretty crazy back home” — where one newspaper’s front page was splashed with the headline “Poland Garros” ahead of the final, reports AP.
When she smacked one last forehand winner to the corner to end things, Swiatek placed her right hand over her mouth then crouched, shaking her head.
Hard to believe? Maybe. This was, after all, only her seventh major tournament; she’d never been past the fourth round at one.
But the way she played these two weeks — with powerful groundstrokes sent to corners, the occasional drop shot, terrific returning and impressive court coverage — made this outcome less of a surprise.
Swiatek lost only 28 games across seven matches and is the first woman to triumph in Paris without ceding a set since Justine Henin in 2007. She also is the first teen to win the women’s title there since Iva Majoli in 1997. -UNB