Polish teenager Iga Swiatek completed a stunning rise by becoming the lowest-ranked woman to win the French Open after beating American Sofia Kenin.
Swiatek, 19, is a former junior Wimbledon champion but the world number 54’s rise to Roland Garros history has been swift and surprising.
She showed few nerves to beat fourth seed Kenin 6-4 6-1, lifting the trophy without losing a set in the tournament.
“I don’t know what is going on, I’m so happy,” a smiling Swiatek said.
Swiatek is the first player from Poland to win a Grand Slam singles title.
She is the youngest French Open champion since Monica Seles lifted the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen in 1992.
“It is crazy. Two years ago I won a junior Grand Slam and now I’m here,” added Swiatek, who was laughing before her voice cracked with emotion.
“It feels like such a short time. I’m so overwhelmed.”
Swiatek dropped to her haunches and cupped her mouth in disbelief after cracking a forehand winner on her first match point.
After asking the umpire for permission, she ran across Court Philippe Chatrier to find her nearest and dearest, eventually being pointed in the right direction to run up to her support team and family in the players’ box.
Who is Iga Swiatek? – some quick facts about the newest French Open champion
- Born 31 May 31, 2001 in Warsaw, Poland
- Father is former rower Tomasz Swiatek, who competed at the 1988 Olympics
- She loves rock/guitar-led music including AC/DC, Pink Floyd and Guns ‘n’ Roses
- She won the Wimbledon junior title in 2008 and the French Open doubles alongside Caty McNally in the same year
- Employs a sports psychologist, Daria Abramowicz, to travel with her on tour
Another new name wins a women’s Grand Slam title
The women’s game has long been unpredictable and few would have backed Swiatek, even those who were already aware of her huge potential, to win Roland Garros.
The teenager is the ninth woman to win her maiden Grand Slam in the past 14 major tournaments.
But from the moment she shocked Romanian top seed Simona Halep in the fourth round, more began to believe it would be the fearless Swiatek who lifted the trophy on Saturday.
As well as Halep, Swiatek has also beaten Czech 2019 runner-up Marketa Vondrousova and now Kenin as her ability to hit powerfully and precisely off either flank paid dividends.
One question mark going into the final was whether she would not – in her words – “choke”. She did not seem to think she would and so it proved.
The magnitude of the occasion did not faze her as she raced into an early 3-0 lead and, after Kenin fought back to level, she regained control to win the first set.
Kenin struggled to handle Swiatek’s heavy and free hitting, with the Pole’s confidence increasing as the match went on.
Another sign of Swiatek’s calmness was the way she casually waved to Polish fans and practised a few serves when Kenin took a medical timeout for treatment on a heavily-strapped left thigh after the third game of the second set.
Soon it was back to business, though. Swiatek ruthlessly won 16 of the next 19 points from when Kenin returned as she became the first woman to win the title without dropping a set since Belgium’s Justine Henin in 2007
“I was just mentally consistent. I just wanted to play aggressive as in previous rounds,” said Swiatek, who hit 25 winners and made 13 unforced errors.
“It was really stressful for me so kind of hard. I don’t know what made the difference. I won the match point and that is important enough.
“It had to be like that that another underdog won a Grand Slam in women’s tennis. It is so often right now that it is crazy.”
More to follow.