Triple Roland-Garros crown for Iga Swiatek, defeats Muchova in epic
Iga Swiatek won her third Roland-Garros title in four years with a 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 win over Karolina Muchova
Iga Swiatek defended her Roland-Garros crown with a 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 epic triumph over a valiant and courageous Karolina Muchova.
Swiatek is unbeaten in Grand Slam finals: an impressive record, encompassing three French Opens (2020, 2022, 2023) and the 2022 US Open.
While we are looking at records, she is the first player in the Open Era to win her first seven sets in Grand Slam finals; Lindsay Davenport, Roger Federer and Lleyton Hewitt all won their first six.
As world No 1, she is 26-2 in Grand Slam matches (61-13 overall), and this fortnight she guaranteed an extension to her stay at the top of the rankings.
She did it in style too, with her 19th match win on clay so far this year – the most on tour.
Swiatek on another level
But note that she was pushed in a Grand Slam final for the first time – and indeed she was pushed for the first time this fortnight, which is great credit to Muchova.
The Pole completed the first set by breaking to love, underlining how brilliantly she had started the match. Muchova was playing very well in patches, but Swiatek stepped it up; a compliment to her opponent, certainly, but also a warning that she has another level when it comes to the crunch.
Muchova brought her best in the second set after falling 3-0 down, opting to move into the net more, and getting her first break of serve by hitting a brilliant winner down the line. She also benefited from having the crowd behind her, not through any enmity towards Swiatek, but simply in admiration of her style and wanting to see a high-quality encounter go the distance.
The Czech broke again – with Swiatek evidently feeling the tension and dropping a double fault – to give herself the chance to serve out the set. She failed on the first, but broke Swiatek again for a second opportunity, holding her nerve and forcing a decider after one hour and 52 minutes of a fascinating contest.
Experience on the biggest stage
Swiatek, visibly distressed, glanced at her team for reassurance, but made a poor start to the third, double-faulting on break point to give Muchova the lead for the first time in the match. The Swiatek serve was failing, and Muchova moved 4-3 ahead with another break, but again could not capitalise, perhaps with the adrenaline pushing her radar slightly off-target, losing her own serve in the very next game.
And Swiatek’s experience on the big occasions started to show – saving a break point at 4-4 and resuming the lead at 5-4, demanding that Muchova serve to stay in it. The serves were not too bad, but Swiatek was resurgent, hitting them back over the net with interest – until championship point, and Muchova double-faulted in the least appropriate way for a great match to end.
Muchova had won their only previous meeting, in Prague four years ago. She had entered that tournament as a wild card, Swiatek through qualifying. The Czech was tearful in the trophy presentation, but can be proud of her fortnight.
Swiatek, always entertaining, concluded the afternoon by knocking off the lid of her trophy as she lifted it for photographers.