Unstoppable Swiatek powers past Paolini to win fourth Roland-Garros title

Iga Swiatek won her fifth Grand Slam title, beating Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-1 to lift her fourth Roland-Garros title

Iga Swiatek wins Roland-Garros 2024 © Thibault Camus/AP/SIPA Iga Swiatek wins Roland-Garros 2024 © Thibault Camus/AP/SIPA
Roland Garros •Final • completed
See draw

Iga Swiatek dismantled Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-1 in just 68 minutes to clinch her fourth Roland-Garros title in Paris.

The world No 1 and two-time defending champion was appearing in her fifth Grand Slam final having never lost from this position. Her opponent, on the other hand, was appearing in her first, having not won consecutive matches at a major prior to 2024.

Victory today completes a rare feat, as Swiatek becomes only the third woman in history to win all three of the major clay-court titles in one season, having also triumphed at the Madrid Open and in Rome last month.

The Pole is unbeaten at Roland-Garros in 21 matches, a run stretching back to 2021, while her win-loss record now improves to 35-2 at the clay-court Grand Slam.

It will be of little consolation in the immediate aftermath of defeat, but Paolini will now rise to a career-high of No 7 in the world. A superb showing in Paris this year has fully backed up her early season successes in Melbourne, where she reached the fourth round for the first time, and in Dubai when she won a first 1000-level title.

Swiatek beats Paolini for fourth Roland-Garros title

bright start for paolini quickly gives way to one-sided contest

With such a vast disparity in experience of Grand Slam finals, much of the discourse prior to the match was about how long Paolini could extend the contest to make it a worthy showpiece. The result was, in most minds, already a foregone conclusion.

However, Paolini briefly sent the script off course when she broke Swiatek’s serve in the third game of the match with some brilliant retrieval skills. The Italian started impressively, with her trademark speed and scampering defence going toe-to-toe with Swiatek’s formidable hitting for the first few games.

But the resistance proved short-lived. Paolini was unable to consolidate when 2-1 up as the Pole broke straight back in the next game. Swiatek then broke again in the sixth game, as her powerful groundstrokes began to penetrate the Italian’s defences increasingly frequently before an untimely double-fault at break point down handed Swiatek a 4-2 lead.

After holding serve, the world No 1 proceeded to break Paolini again – this time to love – to rapidly sprint to a one-set lead with a run of five games in a row.

Despite the barrage of aggression and quality coming at her from across the net, Paolini’s indomitable spirit remained unbroken. When facing two break points on her opening service game in the second set, the Italian served excellently to erase the danger, breaking into a broad smile at the sound of her name being chanted by fans around the stadium. That moment encapsulated much of what Paolini’s run to the Roland-Garros final has all been about this year.

Unfortunately for the Italian, however, she just could not escape Swiatek’s iron-clad grip, who turned the screw yet again to take her third break point of the game and move into a seemingly unassailable set-and-a-break lead.

The situation then rapidly deteriorated for Paolini, as Swiatek’s fifth break of the match led to a 5-0 lead and she moved to the brink of a fourth Roland-Garros title after a winning run of 10 straight games.

Yet the new world No 7 refused to roll over, displaying her fighting spirit to avoid a second-set bagel as she held impressively to make Swiatek serve out for the title.

But it was simply a case of delaying the inevitable, and the result was never truly in any doubt. Swiatek served out her final game of Roland-Garros 2024 with relative ease, clinching her fourth title as a Paolini return went long on her first match point, before throwing her hands in the air in delight.

popular paolini unable to find perfect finish in a dream run to roland-garros final

Nothing showed Paolini’s widespread popularity better than the roaring cheer she received when addressing the crowd following the loss.

“Hello everyone,” Paolini began her runner-up speech as a ripple of applause and cheering rang around the stadium.

“Thanks for coming. I really enjoyed playing on this court,” she continued.

“Congratulations to you, Iga. To play you here is the toughest challenge in this sport. Congrats to your team. You’re doing an amazing job. World No 1, many slams… Just, congratulations.

“I want to thank my team, my family, everyone who was believing in me every day, thank you very much.”

It was then Swiatek’s turn to speak, as the newly-crowned three-time defending champion stepped up to deliver her winner’s speech – a ritual she is now well versed in.

“I know you can speak Polish but I’ll say it in English,” Swiatek said to Paolini, referencing the Italian’s Polish heritage.

“Congrats for an amazing tournament. I’m really impressed with how you’ve played these two weeks. You can do a lot, especially on clay. I hope we have many more matches in final rounds. Congrats to your team as well. I want to thank my team and family. Without them I wouldn’t be here.

“It’s amazing to be here. I love this place. I wait every year to come back,” she continued, before a brief pause as the emotion of the occasion seemed to hit her for the first time.

“Merci beaucoup. I was almost out of the tournament in the second round. Thank you for staying behind me and cheering for me.

“I needed to believe it would be possible for me. It was an emotional tournament. Thank you for supporting me.”

swiatek’s dominance shows no sign of slowing down as she cements her status as all-time great

Roland-Garros 2024 will remain one of the finest achievements of Paolini’s career, regardless of the success that is still to come her way.

At 28 years old, she has found the form of her life and displayed her ability to compete for the biggest trophies in the sport. With a ranking of No 7 in the world, this highly likeable character will gain greater protection in future Grand Slam tournaments. If she can maintain this sort of form, then Paolini will get many more chances to win big titles in the future.

As she mentioned briefly in her speech, Paolini also has the women’s doubles final to contest tomorrow. So 2024 could yet be a glorious one for her in Paris.

As for Swiatek – if she hadn’t already, the world No 1 has now officially crossed over the line between leading player of her generation to one of the leading players of all time.

Only Monica Seles and Justine Henin had won three consecutive women’s singles titles at Roland-Garros prior to the Pole’s victory today.

Her 35-2 win-loss record is beginning to enter Rafael Nadal territory. The most extraordinary thing about it all is that no one looks close to cracking the Iga Swiatek code on the Parisian clay. This was her most comfortable final yet.

Naomi Osaka came so close in the second round, reaching match point on her serve before Swiatek roared back for an incredible win. But from that near-defeat, Swiatek was able to springboard to a stratospheric level. Simply no one troubled her from that point on.

It is three in a row for Iga in Paris, five Grand Slams in total and a grip on the world No 1 ranking that is only getting firmer.

It does not feel as though this extraordinary young Pole is anywhere close to peaking.

On the contrary, it feels as though the era of Swiatek’s dominance is only just beginning.

People in this post

Your comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *