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regular-article-logo Sunday, 03 March 2024

French Open: Iga Swiatek glad to ‘survive’ clay swing after rollercoaster finale

22-year-old says she has no regrets about dropping the second set after going 3-0 up

Reuters Paris Published 12.06.23, 05:33 AM
Iga Swiatek celebrates with the trophy on the Bir-Hakeim bridge in Paris on Sunday.

Iga Swiatek celebrates with the trophy on the Bir-Hakeim bridge in Paris on Sunday. Getty Images

Holder Iga Swiatek endured an up-and-down final at Roland Garros on Saturday to claim her third French Open title in four years and said she was happy to survive a testing claycourt swing as the emotions reached their peak at the finish line.

The 22-year-old Swiatek crouched down on the clay and shed tears at the end of a fierce battle with unseeded Czech Karolina Muchova in which she dropped her first set in two weeks in Paris before sealing a 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 victory.

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The world No.1 said she was left almost surprised that she closed out the victory as Muchova — who beat second seed Aryna Sabalenka with a late fightback in the semi-finals — double faulted on match point to bow out.

“I saw all these matches of Karolina when she was actually coming back from scores like that before match point, I wasn’t really thinking it’s going to happen now. I just played and I just gave it all,” Swiatek told reporters.

“It’s hard to describe. There was a lot of happiness. I felt suddenly tired of these three weeks. Maybe my matches weren’t physically exhausting, but it’s hard to keep your focus.

“And the whole swing. Since Stuttgart I haven’t been home. So I’m happy I finished the whole claycourt swing so well, and that I survived. I’m never going to doubt my strength again maybe because of that.”

Swiatek said she had no regrets about dropping the second set after going 3-0 up.

“I just looked forward and I said to myself, ‘OK, you know what? I’m going to give it all.’ I wasn’t thinking or analysing. I played my game, used my intuition, and that really helped,” she said.

“After so many ups and downs, I stopped thinking about the score.

“I wanted to use my intuition more, I knew that I can play a little bit better if I’m going to get a little bit more loosened up. It helped, for sure, in the third set.”

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