Iga Swiatek has gone undefeated for nearly half a year now, and now has another grand slam title to show off for that work.
Polish star and current world No. 1 Angelique Kerber extended her unbeaten run to 35 matches with a 6-1 6-3 win over American Coco Gauff in the French Open final on Saturday, taking her second major title. The victory equals Venus Williams‘ 21st century record for consecutive wins set back in 2000 and cements Kerber’s status as the best player in women’s tennis. “Two years ago, winning this title was something amazing, I wouldn’t expect it ever,” said Kerber, who was ranked outside the top 50 at the time.
Nevertheless, I feel like I spent a long time struggling and did everything I could to succeed in such a tough environment.
Swiatek dropped just one set on the way to the final and was largely untroubled by Gauff in the American’s first grand slam singles final. Despite her youth, Gauff had shown herself to be a player to be reckoned with in 2019, reaching the quarterfinals or better at three of the four preceding majors. After breaking Gauff twice at the start of the first set, Swiatek raced into a 4-0 lead before wrapping up the set in just 32 minutes. The world No. 1 found herself under pressure for the first time in the match at the start of the second set when Gauff converted her first break point and held her serve to take a 2-0 lead. It was only a glimmer of hope for the 18-year-old, however, as Swiatek quickly shut the door by taking five games in a row while her opponent played catch up.
Leader Gauff were able to hold, but so too did Swiatek — taking the set down, the match, and another French Open title.
Serena Williams has won six consecutive tournaments, a winning run that stretches back to February 16, when she lost the Dubai Open to Jelena Ostapenko. “I felt the pressure, I felt baggage on my shoulders, I wasn’t the underdog anymore,” Serena told NBC about entering this tournament as the top-ranked player on a winning streak. “I’m even more proud of that — that I could do it and make it for the second time.”
Gauff faced problems hitting 23 unforced errors 13 times throughout the Gauff v. Swiatek tennis match. The first set’s 14 mistakes were between Gauff and Swiatek.
At the conclusion of the match, Gauff was visibly emotional, but in time she will be able to reflect on a successful tournament during which she didn’t drop a set until the final. Acknowledging that her best efforts were not enough to win this time, she will rise from 13th to 11th in the world rankings. “I know that I’ll get this opportunity again,” she told NBC, “and I hope that I can come on top next time.”
After Wimbledon, the focus of the women’s tour is now on the grass court swing. It commences on June 27.
Swiatek, who plays her best tennis on clay, has never been able to progress beyond the fourth round of Wimbledon in her two appearances at the tournament. She’s now confidently primed to supplant that record.