Ash Barty’s disappearance from tennis has paved the way for Iga Swiatek to destroy everyone and storm into the French Open final.
Iga Swiatek secured her place in a second French Open final on Thursday when the world number one outclassed Russia’s Daria Kasatkina and extended her undefeated streak to 34 games.
The 2020 Roland Garros champion rode to a dominant 6-2, 6-1 semi-final victory after just 64 minutes over Court Philippe Chatrier.
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Swiatek will make history by breaking Venus Williams’ record for longest winning run for women since 2000 when she defeats Coco Gauff in Saturday’s final.
“I’m so grateful. It’s easier to play matches with this kind of support,” said Swiatek, who has won 10 of the last 11 matches, in her on-court interview.
“It’s surprising how much they support me this week.
“I try to treat every game the same because when I think about it being the biggest game of the season so far, I get stressed.”
Swiatek also revealed that she made it to the decider with a little help from legendary British rockers Led Zeppelin.
The Pole said her choice of music on her phone when she walked onto the field was Led Zeppelin, despite the band breaking up in 1980, more than 20 years before she was born.
“There are a few bands that I listen to before a match. Led Zeppelin, AC/DC and Guns N’ Roses were always the three that were the perfect fit for the situation,” she said.
“So I use music to have something to get my brain busy and relaxed before the game. But also if I want to be more energetic, it really helps me.”
It will be the 21-year-old’s second Grand Slam final as she looks set to win a sixth consecutive WTA title.
The Polish star has stormed the rankings this season, of number seven in the world, taking advantage of Ash Barty’s shocking retirement to reach the top during her remarkable run.
Barty’s absence from the tour has opened the door for Swiatek to establish herself as the dominant force in women’s tennis and right now she seems unstoppable.
Swiatek hammered 22 winners past her opponent and she has only lost one set in the tournament, against Chinese teenager Zheng Qinwen in the fourth round.
Kasatkina won her first showdown with Swiatek on Eastbourne grass last year, but lost all four of their encounters in 2022 in straight sets, not winning more than five games in a match.
The 20th seed played in a major semi-final for the first time, but committed 24 unforced errors in an errant display.
After a quick opening grab from Swiatek, both players struggled to serve and exchanged breaks.
However, Kasatkina managed to avert a break point in the fourth game and equalized the first set.
But she still found it hard to live with her opponent’s consistent groundstrokes and slipped 4-2 behind after a terrible misheat of what should have been a simple winner at the net wide of the tram lines.
Swiatek had wrapped up the set just minutes later when a backhand return winner sealed a break to love.
Kasatkina managed to hold onto her first service game in the second set, but Swiatek was on a pitch and forged a 3-1 lead when Kasatkina flared up for a long time.
That basically ended the semi-final as a match, and Swiatek ended it with a run of five straight games, culminating in her first ace on her first match point.
In the men’s semifinals on Friday, 13-time champion Rafael Nadal will face third seed Alexander Zverev before Norwegian Casper Ruud plays Croatian Marin Cilic.
Second seed Ena Shibahara and Wesley Koolhof won the mixed doubles title earlier Thursday with a 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 victory over Norway’s Ulrikke Eikeri and Belgian Joran Vliegen.
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