|Venue: Roland Garros, Paris Dates: 28 Could-11 June|
|Protection: Stay textual content and radio commentaries of chosen matches throughout BBC Radio 5 Sports activities Additional, the BBC Sport web site and app|
Iga Swiatek maintained her latest grip on the French Open by preventing previous Karolina Muchova to win her third Roland Garros title in 4 years.
The highest seed was the heavy favorite to beat Forty third-ranked Muchova, however needed to dig deep to win 6-2 5-7 6-4.
Czech participant Muchova, 26, broke for 4-3 within the decider, however Poland’s Swiatek, 22, completed strongly to triumph.
Swiatek, who has now gained 4 Grand Slams, is the primary girl to defend the title since Justine Henin in 2007.
“It wasn’t a straightforward match. It was a reasonably intense previous few weeks,” mentioned world primary Swiatek, who dropped the lid off the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen seconds after accumulating the trophy.
“I’m simply actually joyful. I by no means actually deal with the data. I simply do my greatest each day.”
Muchova – advised to give up final 12 months by medical doctors due to accidents – confirmed outstanding resolve to combat again from a set and 3-0 down, not solely making a contest of what had been a one-sided match however shifting to inside two service holds of a primary main title.
Nonetheless, after instantly being unable to again up the break as Swiatek levelled for 4-4, Muchova ended up dropping in one of many cruellest potential methods by producing a double fault on her opponent’s first match level.
Swiatek immediately dropped her racquet and dropped to her haunches, bursting into tears on the court docket earlier than hugging Muchova when she got here across the internet.
As Swiatek ran as much as the stands to have a good time together with her crew – like she did after successful 12 months in the past – Muchova sat in her chair considering what may need been.
Muchova acquired a rapturous standing ovation when she went to gather her runners-up prize, which led to her being overcome with emotion.
“It was so shut but to date. That is what occurs whenever you play the most effective in Iga,” she mentioned.
Swiatek, who has gained a seventh title in 16 clay-court tournaments, had not dropped a set at Roland Garros this 12 months – nor in any of her three earlier main finals – till Muchova took the match right into a decider.
She appeared uncharacteristically flustered as Muchova threatened an upset, solely to regain her composure when it mattered.
Swiatek continues clay-court dominance
When former world primary Ashleigh Barty introduced her shock retirement in March 2022, it opened up the highest of the ladies’s recreation and left a void, with no one solely certain who would fill it.
Enter Swiatek. Having already gained the French Open as a nearly unknown teenager in 2020, she clearly had the potential to take over from Barty however maybe not the arrogance.
Nonetheless, that each one modified in a shocking clay-court season final 12 months which fashioned the majority of a 37-match successful streak and led to the Pole changing into the dominant drive within the girls’s recreation.
This 12 months, she has come below stress from Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka and Kazakstan’s Elena Rybakina – because the trio fashioned a brand new ‘huge three’ – resulting in doubts over whether or not Swiatek may dominate Roland Garros once more in the identical method.
A thigh damage within the build-up at Rome additionally led to additional questions, however Swiatek rapidly dispelled any notion she was now not the favorite by storming by the draw on the Paris clay.
Rybakina’s withdrawal early within the event by sickness ended the prospect of her going through Swiatek within the final 4, whereas Muchova’s shock semi-final win over Sabalenka ensured a last few folks had predicted.
As a substitute Swiatek confronted the intelligent Czech, who reached the 2021 Australian Open semi-finals earlier than an array of bodily issues derailed her profession.
Swiatek began sharply by successful 12 of the primary 15 factors within the match, holding serve in a 10-minute recreation to guide 4-1 and going through no extra issues as she broke once more to clinch the opening set.
An similar begin to the second set – Swiatek once more breaking on the way in which to a 3-0 lead – left these watching questioning if Muchova was additionally going to be closely crushed just like the Pole’s earlier last opponents Sofia Kenin and Coco Gauff have been.
However this time Muchova recovered to show the match right into a compelling contest.
Immediately Swiatek had issues to resolve and, with ideas of an easy victory lengthy gone, turned animated as she tried to determine what was going fallacious.
The actual fact she did was one other certain signal of her high quality. Regaining her composure, which in flip elevated the stress on Muchova, enabled Swiatek to affix Monica Seles and Naomi Osaka as the one girls to win their first 4 main finals within the Open period.
“I feel Swiatek will win double-digit Slams. Will she get to what Serena Williams achieved ? I do not assume so however that is what the ladies’s recreation wants,” mentioned former British primary Greg Rusedski, who was analysing the ultimate for BBC Radio 5 Stay.
“There’s so many nice gamers round her. She is a dominant drive however they’re all getting higher. They’re pressured to due to how good Swiatek is.”