Iga Swiatek has been nearly unstoppable this season — and now she has a second grand slam title to prove it.
The Polish star won the French Open for the second time on Saturday as she defeated Coco Gauff 6-1 6-3, extending her unbeaten run to 35 matches.
That equals Venus Williams’ 21st century record for consecutive wins set back in 2000 and cements Swiatek’s status as the best player in women’s tennis at the moment.
The 21-year-old, who won her first grand slam title at Roland Garros two years ago, dropped just one set on the way to Saturday’s final and was largely untroubled by Gauff in the American’s first grand slam singles final.
After breaking Gauff twice at the start of the first set, Swiatek raced into a 4-0 lead before wrapping up the set in just 32 minutes.
The world No. 1 found herself under pressure for the first time in the match at the start of the second set when Gauff converted her first break point and held to take a 2-0 lead.
It was only a glimmer of hope for the 18-year-old, however, as Swiatek quickly shut the door by taking the next five straight games.
Gauff was able to hold, but so too did Swiatek — taking the set, the match, and another French Open title.
PARIS — Competing in her first Grand Slam final at age 18, American Coco Gauff insisted that nerves wouldn’t be an issue, vowing to hit freely and compete as if she had nothing to lose in Saturday’s French Open championship.
But that was more easily said than done, particularly against the ruthlessly efficient world No. 1 Iga Swiatek, who raced to a 6-1, 6-3 victory in 68 minutes.
With it, Swiatek, who turned 21 last Tuesday, claimed her second Grand Slam title, adding to the 2020 French Open championship that she claimed as a relatively unknown 19-year-old. She also extended her winning streak to 35 matches and claimed her sixth straight tournament title.
Gauff was the youngest Grand Slam finalist in women’s tennis since Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon in 2004. She had yet to drop a set in the tournament and took Court Philippe-Chatrier as the French Open’s 2018 girls’ junior champion.
Rafael Nadal advances to French Open final after Alexander Zverev injury
But it was over quickly, and she silently wept after congratulating Swiatek at the net.
No player has beaten Swiatek since mid-February, when she was edged in a third-set tiebreaker by Jelena Ostapenko in a hard-court tournament in Dubai.
Over the last two weeks on the red clay of Roland Garros, her preferred surface, she has displayed the full range of what makes her so hard to beat.
From the outset of Saturday’s championship match, Swiatek flaunted the variety of her strokes, constructing points with a medley of topspin wallops, deft slices, and crisp volleys.
Fluid and fluent on clay, patterning her clay-court movement on that of her idol, 13-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal, Swiatek covers the court extremely well. There simply aren’t many spots she can’t reach.
Moreover, she pounces on balls so quickly that she rushes opponents, denying them the extra split-second to set strategy and feel in command.
Gauff scattered the first few games with more unforced errors than is customary — a netted backhand and overhit forehands.
In French Open finalists Coco Gauff, Iga Swiatek, women’s tennis finds its future
Within minutes, Swiatek sped to a 4-0 lead, pouncing on every ball with great confidence, while Gauff’s forehand continued to let her down.
Her backhand was the trustier weapon, and Gauff drilled one down the line to claim her first game. It was surely a psychological boost but did little to rattle Swiatek, who closed the first set in 32 minutes.
Gauff bolted to a better start to open the second set, capitalizing on a wild Swiatek forehand to break serve in the first game. If she felt dejected, there was no outward indication. She carried herself with confidence, with a focused and determined look in her eyes.
But Swiatek was too skilled, making Gauff play for the slightest mistake.
Swiatek saved her final on-court remarks for Ukraine in accepting the 2022 French Open trophy.
“I want at the end to say something to Ukraine: To stay strong, because the war is still there.” she said. A native of Poland, Swiatek competes with a yellow and blue ribbon on her cap in solidarity with neighboring Ukraine.
— Liz Clarke
Feb. 16. That’s the last time 21-year-old Iga Swiatek lost a tennis match and she now has a second title at Roland Garros to go along with her incredible 35-match win streak. The streak ties Venus Williams’s record and the title puts a second Grand Slam trophy on her shelf.
The world No. 1 served out the match with aplomb in 68 minutes, clinching it on the first of her two match points when Coco Gauff sent a forehand just long.
Gauff, 18, can check off her first Grand Slam final and plays for the women’s doubles title Sunday alongside Jessica Pegula.
A backhand clipper down the line put Iga Swiatek just four points away from her second title at Roland Garros. Even after taking a 2-0 lead, Gauff got a little frustrated midway through the second set with her errors and Swiatek deliberately slowing her down. The 21-year-old redirected Gauff’s momentum with ease.
A handful of unforced errors from Coco Gauff let Iga Swiatek back in the second set and the 21-year-old reclaimed a lead with a masterful fifth game. Gauff didn’t win a single point in the fifth.