Thursday, June 30, 2022

Swiatek starts French Open with 28 win streak

PARIS ( Associated Press) — This is just one measure of how dominant Iga Swiatek has been.

The new WTA number one has accumulated 28 consecutive wins, a record surpassed by only three women since 2000: Venus Williams (35 in 2000), Serena Williams (34 in 2013) and Justine Henin (32 in 2008), all number one and multiple grand slam winners.

“I know there’s going to be pressure for sure and I know on clay maybe the media will say I’m the favourite,” said Swiatek, the 2020 French Open winner who debuts Monday against 21st-ranked Lesia Tsurenko.

“But honestly, I don’t know what to expect because it’s the first time I’m in a position like this and I’m number one in the world,” Swiatek said. “I know I’m going to have fun playing on clay… I always have more motivation before Roland Garros and I’m going to use it.”

The 20-year-old Pole has won her last five tournaments and 42 of her last 43 sets.

It seems that the whole tennis world has taken note of it.

“It’s fresh. It’s natural. He is young,” said 13-time French Open winner Rafael Nadal. “Since he is playing, it seems impossible to stop her.”

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Other aspects of the second major tournament of the year.

DEFENDING CHAMPION

Last year’s champion, Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic, was unsure if she could defend her title due to a right elbow injury that has kept her sidelined since February.

“I don’t have high expectations,” said the number two in the ranking. “For now I feel healthy. I knock on wood, I feel good. And I think mentally, I’m recharged.”

UNBALANCED GROUP

The male group could not be more unbalanced. In the top half of the draw are defending champion and number one Novak Djokovic; 13-time champion Rafael Nadal: the 19-year-old Spaniard who has had a sensational season so far, Carlos Alcaraz; and number three Alexander Zerev.

“I think it’s very likely that the Roland Garros champion will be in the top half,” Zverev said.

Alcaraz is the only one of the quartet that will play on Sunday: the others will do so on Monday.

One beneficiary of the draw is number four Stefanos Tsitsipas, a runner-up last year who was placed in the bottom half this year.

THE PANDEMIC

After three quarantines, the restrictions in France have been relaxed, so that the public will return to Roland Garros, and apparently in the rest of Paris, without a mask.

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Not being vaccinated is not an impediment as long as you pass a test, so Djokovic will be able to compete, unlike the Australian Open in January, when he was deported from the country for not being vaccinated.

WHO IS MISSING?

Serena Williams, who has not played since being injured at Wimbledon last year, and her sister Venus, who last competed in Chicago in August, will not be in attendance. Neither will 2021 finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, whose season has ended due to a knee injury. Among the men, Roger Federer, who has not played since last July; Wimbledon 2021 finalist Matteo Berrettini, who has had wrist surgery, and two players who pride themselves on being entertained – Nick Kyrgios and Gael Monfils – will also not be present.

AU REVOIR

Two 37-year-old Frenchmen who were in the top 10 bid farewell: 2008 Australia finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gilles Simon. It is Tsonga’s last tournament; Simon retires at the end of the season.

Nation World News Desk
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