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Swiatek praises Roland-Garros final opponent Muchova : “I really like her game; she’s a player who can do anything”

Iga Swiatek looks ahead to her Roland-Garros final showdown against Karolina Muchova, who is unseeded but certainly not an unworthy opponent for the No 1 seed.

ga Swiatek (Poland) during a training session of Roland-Garros 2023 May 25, 2023, Paris, France, France: Iga Swiatek (Poland) during a training session of Roland-Garros 2023 – Zuma / Panoramic

Iga Swiatek was a massive title favorite even before Roland-Garros began, and now the world No 1 is facing an unseeded opponent in the final.

However, Swiatek is not about to discount Karolina Muchova. The 22-year-old Pole has way too much respect for Muchova’s game to do that, and she knows the Czech should be ranked higher than her current mark of No 43.

I watch her actually more than most of the players

Iga Swiatek

“I feel like I know Karolina’s game, because I played many practices with her since 2019,” Swiatek said, referencing the only time they have played each other in a match — at the 2019 Prague tournament. “And I also watch her actually more than most of the players; just a coincidence, but it (has) happened.

“And I really like her game, honestly. I really respect her, and she’s I feel like a player who can do anything. She has great touch; she can also speed up the game. She plays with that kind of…I don’t know…freedom in her movements. And she has a great technique. So I watched her matches and I feel like I know her game pretty well.”

Muchova beat Swiatek in their only previous meeting

That 2019 Prague showdown came back when Swiatek was a teenager and ranked No 95 in the world. Muchova was outside the top 100 at No 106. It was Muchova who won their first-round encounter via a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 scoreline. She went on to reach the final in Prague and a couple of months later advanced all the way to the Wimbledon quarter-finals.

Swiatek remembers the Prague match well.

“I remember a lot actually, because it was one of my first WTA tournaments,” the two-time Roland-Garros champion reflected. “I had to play last match of qualification and my first round against Karolina the same day, because it was raining days before.

“It was my first tournament or second tournament with [sports psychologist Daria Abramowicz]. So it was like much, much different. I felt like a rookie and I didn’t know if I should be in that place or not, you know?

“But I remember she played really well. It was a three-setter — pretty tight. Yeah, I remember a lot. And I remember Daria did that weird coaching, because coaching was allowed for anybody who like enters the court, and I wasn’t with my coach at this tournament. So she did that weird coaching where I said a lot of stuff and didn’t really make sense but she was just calming me down. Right now I look at it and it’s really funny.

“Back then I was really stressed and exhausted from this match that I had to play earlier in the day. So, yeah, I’m happy that I’m better a little bit now.”

This time around both players — especially Muchova — are coming off tough semi-final matches on Thursday. Muchova outlasted Aryna Sabalenka 7-6 (5), 6-7 (5), 7-5, while Swiatek held off Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-2, 7-6 (7).

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