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‘There’s no secret’: six in a row for Swiatek

The former French Open champion is proving her consistency – and her mettle on hard courts

Iga Swiatek Poland’s Iga Swiatek celebrates winning her third round match against Russia’s Daria Kasatkina (Panoramic)

Australian Open 2022 | Draw Order of play 

Iga Swiatek is into the second week of a Grand Slam for the sixth consecutive time – but it’s not luck or fluke.

“Every match for me is really important,” she said in her post-match press conference on Saturday, “and I always want it to be solid. I know I have a game. I just have to keep my mind in a right path.

“I just feel like I have been working so hard over my preseason, and I am playing really good. I can actually use that on matches. If there is nothing to bother me, like, I don’t know, pain or injury, I feel like I can do it. So I think it’s a matter of belief and discipline.”

Swiatek – Seeking personal best

It was certainly a disciplined performance against Daria Kasatkina, the Australian Open’s 25th seed, who was dismissed 6-2, 6-3. It took her into the fourth round of the Australian Open for a third consecutive year. In 2021, she was cruising, having not dropped a set – just as she has done this year. Then she came up against Simona Halep in the fourth round and lost in three.

In fact, apart from the triumph in the 2020 French Open, the 20-year-old has never yet been beyond the fourth round of a Slam, despite her consistency. She is yearning to notch a new “personal best”, as she wrote on the camera after her defeat of Kasatkina.

“For sure being in the quarter-final is different than losing in one of these four rounds,” she said. “Second week, I mean, you can see that the players are already in the rhythm and you always play with probably seeded ones or the one that [beat] that seeded [player]. Yeah, I mean, these matches are just on a higher level, I would say. But for sure the first ones are also hard because you have to find that rhythm.”

She added with a smile: “Yeah, I mean, just being in a quarter-final – and you can always say later that, ‘Hey, quarter-finals of a Grand Slam!’ It sounds better.”

It does. It is worth noting, though, that despite that run of fourth rounds, she has only gone past that stage twice – and both times it was at Roland-Garros.

The Pole is seeded seventh in Melbourne. Although she has been stronger on clay in her young career – with the singles title in Rome last year as well as her Roland-Garros trophy in her cabinet – she also has a hard court crown, and that came in Australia when she won in Adelaide 12 months ago.

Cirstea – I’m not defined by numbers

In the round of 16 she will play Sorana Cirstea, the Romanian who knocked out 20th seed Petra Kvitova in the first round, and 10th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the third round. The 31-year-old last reached this stage of the Australian Open five years ago.

“I think in tennis and probably in sports people like to have this tendency of always mentioning your age or how many years ago or your results,” said the world No 38. “But as I’ve said before, I’m not defined by numbers, ranking, age, or any of that.

“You know, I enjoy what I’m doing. I love tennis. I think I love it more and more from year to year, and I am quite experienced right now. I think I have improved a lot of areas, and I’m definitely a much better player right now than I was 10 years ago. That can only give me joy, because I think with time I kept trying to improve, and I think I’m seeing the results right now.”

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