The female Rafa? Scintillating Swiatek emulates clay court legend with crushing win for third straight French Open title


With a ruthlessness that echoed Rafa Nadal in his Roland Garros heyday, Iga Swiatek has blasted her way to a fourth French Open singles title, dismantling Jasmine Paolini quite mercilessly on Court Philippe Chatrier.

At just 23, Swiatek’s current domination of women’s tennis was underlined by her 6-2 6-1 victory over the surprise Italian finalist Paolini in the most one-sided of finals on Saturday.

The 12th seed Paolini, in her first grand slam final at the age of 28, came with a bold plan to go toe-to-toe with the defending champion, and to begin with she actually succeeded, grabbing the first break of the match confidently to take a 2-1 lead.

But that was as good as it got for the diminutive Tuscan, whose early bounce was soon deflated once the Polish world No.1 immediately then hit her stride and allowed Paolini just four more points in the set as her relentlessly accurate groundstrokes took their toll.

???????? Queen of Paris ????????@iga_swiatek captures a fourth Roland-Garros title defeating Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-1.#RolandGarros

— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) June 8, 2024

Making it 21 wins in a row at Roland Garros, Swiatek enjoyed a third successive triumph in the Paris slam, a fourth in five years and a fifth grand slam in all. She’s the first woman to win three in a row in Paris since Justine Henin from 2005 to 2007.

Chris Evert, the great seven-time French Open champion, watched Swiatek’s display in awe, predicting: “There’s no doubt in my mind that she’ll match me and then even win more than I did. 

“She’s still young. She’s gonna rack ’em up. After those first three games, she’s played unbeatable tennis. It was almost mechanical, robotic – and I mean that as a compliment.”

Swiatek, who had almost been knocked out of the tournament by Naomi Osaka in the second round, having been match point down, never looked back after that close shave, dominating all her opponents for the rest of the tournament.

“I was almost out of the tournament in the second round, so thank you guys for staying behind my back and cheering me. It’s been a really emotional tournament, so thank you for supporting me,” she told the crowd, after being presented with the trophy by Evert and fellow legend Martina Navratilova.

For Paolini, who’d never been past the second round at any slam until this past fortnight, the sense of powerless kicked in as Swiatek, impenetrable in defence, began thrashing winners from the baseline on the attack.

Iga Swiatek of Poland celebrates winning the 2024 French Open. (Photo by Lionel Hahn/Getty Images)

Once she had been broken for 2-0 in the second set, it always seemed as if Paolini’s only hope was to avoid the embarrassment of a second-set bagel, and at 5-0 down, she soaked up huge applause from the sympathetic crowd by pulling off a forehand winner to grab just her third game.

Becoming the first woman since Serena Williams to complete the Madrid, Rome and Roland Garros clay-court treble in the same season, Swiatek wouldn’t be put off, serving out for her comprehensive victory in just 68 minutes.

“I really enjoyed playing on this court today – to play you here is the toughest challenge in this sport,” Paolini told Swiatek on court.

“These have been the best days of my life – so keep going, I’ve got the doubles final tomorrow,” added the Italian, who plays alongside compatriot Sara Errani against Coco Gauff and Katerina Siniakova on Sunday.

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