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Swiatek says “the sky’s the limit” as she storms through Roland-Garros draw

Iga Swiatek is only growing in confidence as her winning streak continues. She is through to the French Open final and looks poised to capture a second title this weekend.

Iga Swiatek, Roland-Garros 2022 Iga Swiatek, Roland-Garros 2022 © Aurélien Morissard / Panoramic

Iga Swiatek may already have one Roland-Garros title under her belt – but never has the 21-year-old felt more confident than she does right now.

Swiatek earned a spot in the French Open semi-finals with a dominant 6-3, 6-2 victory over Jessica Pegula on Wednesday afternoon. The top-ranked Pole then defeated Daria Kasatkina in the semi-finals on Thursday with an equally dominant 6-2, 6-1 performance that required only one hour and four minutes.

Coco Gauff awaits in Saturday’s final after the 18-year-old American beat Martina Trevisan 6-3, 6-1 in the semis.

That Swiatek has advanced pretty much with ease in Paris is no surprise given that she is the No 1 player in the world and is especially formidable on clay. But the way in he handled Pegula — who has been in stellar form, herself, since the start of last season — was impressive. Swiatek struck four aces without double-faulting, served at 70 percent, blasted 30 winners (almost double the American’s 16), and even though she got broken once she made up for it with five breaks of the Pegula serve.

Iga Swiatek serving, Roland-Garros 2022
Iga Swiatek serving, Roland-Garros 2022 © AI / Reuters / Panoramic

Swiatek : “my most solid match”

Swiatek was understandably enthused by her performance against Pegula.

“For sure I think it was my most solid match here,” the 2020 Roland-Garros winner said during her post-match press conference. “So I’m pretty happy with the performance. And from A to Z I was the pretty focused and I didn’t let Jessica come back in those sets.”

Swiatek has to feel great about her entire 2022 campaign, of course. She has won Doha, Indian Wells, Miami, Stuttgart, and Rome in succession. With Ashleigh Barty having retired, Swiatek’s lead atop the rankings is 2,000 points. And given how she looks in Paris — she has dropped only one set in the entire tournament and seven sets have been no more competitive than 6-2 — her points lead may be growing.

“I’m learning how to deal with the pressure and expectations.

Iga Swiatek

“I kind of [feel]like the sky’s the limit for me,” Swiatek said. “I feel more free right now. I feel like I’ve proven myself. A lot has changed in my mind and for sure I also realize that I can actually be No. 1 and really cope with it properly. So that’s pretty cool.

“I for sure [feel] more free [at] all the WTA tournaments that I played because I [feel] like I already had so [many] points that I don’t have to defend anything and I’m leading, so if I lose and have some bad matches, it’s (not) like I’m going to suddenly drop in rankings. It’s not going to change a lot…. I’m also learning how to deal with the pressure and expectations, and I think I’m doing a good job.”

Only her third semi-final

She is doing such a good job that Grand Slam semi-final appearance seem to be becoming the norm. This is her third, following the 2020 title at Roland-Garros and a semi-final result earlier this year in Australia.

“This time I feel like I’m in the right place and that place that I kind of worked for really hard,” Swiatek explained. And on hard courts this year it was all kind of new for me and I really didn’t expect to be in the (Australian Open) semi-finals.

Iga Swiatek
Iga Swiatek celebrates winning her third round match against Russia’s Daria Kasatkina, Australian Open 2022 – © Panoramic

“Here it’s not like I expected that, but for sure I felt the pressure and that in my mind I wanted to do better than last year (quarter-finals). So I’m even more proud of myself that I could cope with that and really push myself to not think about that and to just focus on tennis.

“So this is a little bit different, but still being in the semi-finals it’s a new experience because it [doesn’t] happen very often.”

Maybe not for most players. But for Swiatek, it looks like it will happen quite often.

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