In the match of two young stars, world No. 1 Iga Świątek defeats Coco Gauff for a 35th consecutive victory in the French Open final
World number one Iga Świątek arrived in the French Open final on a massive streak and claimed supremacy in women’s tennis following the sudden retirement of Ash Barty in March.
The Polish star, who turned 21 on Tuesday, had won 54 of his previous 56 sets heading into the league match, 34 consecutive matches and eight straight finals.
Coco Gauff, the 18-year-old American who was inspired by Venus and Serena Williams, was making her first Grand Slam singles final and is also competing in the women’s doubles final with her partner, Jessica Pegula. She won the Roland-Garros junior singles title four years ago.
In the end, Świątek was too confident and too powerful and the moment was too much for Gauff at this early stage of her career. Świątek extended his winning streak to 35 games with a 6-1, 6-3 win for his second Roland Garros and second Major title. She’s the only Polish player – male or female – to win a major title, and now she has a pair.
She tied Venus Williams for the longest winning streak among women this century, surpassing Serena’s mark of 34 straight wins. His last defeat dates back to February 16 in Dubai. Martina Navratilova won 74 consecutive matches in 1984.
“Two years ago to win this title was something incredible, I never expected it,” she said on the pitch as her fans waved Polish flags and her family looked on proudly. .
“But this time, I feel like I worked hard and did everything to get here, even if it was quite difficult. The pressure was great. Thank you to all the fans for the support, to for coming, all the Polish flags I see there. It’s good to have you…in my most difficult times, so thank you.
She then added a message of support for Ukraine, which borders Poland, to “stay strong because the world is still here. Since my first speech in Doha, I basically hoped that when I give the next one, the situation will improve. But I will always have hope and try to support.
The Pole will take home $2,355,343 in prize money, while Gauff won $1,177,931.
“She grabbed No. 1, she just got a stranglehold on No. 1,” ESPN analyst Patrick McEnroe said of Świątek before the game. “She has a monster lead, she will definitely finish No. 1.
“Now for her it’s about winning these major titles… She has the speed and firepower off both wings which is absolutely phenomenal. I’ve never seen a player play with the type of spin and of firepower from both wings in the women’s game and she’s also an incredible mover.
Świątek idolizes Rafael Nadal and Nadal came to wish him luck before the game. Now they could win the French Open titles on the same weekend for the second time after winning two titles in October 2020. Nadal is set to face Norway’s Casper Ruud, 23, in Sunday’s men’s final.
Gauff was the youngest Roland Garros finalist since Kim Clijsters in 2001 and the youngest American to reach the championship game since Andrea Jaeger in 1982.
She was the latest teenager to reach a major final after two teenagers met in the US Open final last year when Emma Raducanu beat Leylah Fernandez.
But Gauff reached the final without having to face a single Top 30 player and hadn’t really been tested. She didn’t drop a set en route to the final.
And his nerves were evident early on.
Gauff essentially broke in the opener of the match, then navigated a forehand wide on a rally to earn a 0-3 double break in the first. She eventually managed to take the fifth game, but lost 4-1 before Świątek easily won the first set in 32 minutes.
Gauff showed signs of life as he took an early break in the second set and then held on to a 2-0 lead. She changed pace by mixing up drop shots, and the crowd got behind her.
But Świątek suppressed and pulled back before holding and breaking again for a 4-2 lead.
Serving for the match at 5-3, Świątek held on for the title, preserving her record of never losing to a younger player.
“I want to congratulate Iga first,” Gauff said. “What you’ve done on tour over the past two months has been truly amazing and you totally deserve it.
“Hopefully we can play each other in more finals and I can win against you one of these days.”
Despite the resounding victory, this match was good for women’s tennis as it featured two friendly young stars with a bright future, one of whom is American.
“At 21 and 18, this is the future of our sport,” John McEnroe said on air. “It’s the best game we could have hoped for.”
With Świątek looking to Wimbledon in three weeks, Gauff can still claim a French Open title this weekend.
Gauff and Pegula, the No. 8 doubles seeds, will face 2016 champions Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic in Sunday’s final.
Gauff is in her second Grand Slam doubles final in her last three majors. She and Caty McNally were runners-up behind Samantha Stosur and Zhang Shuai at last year’s US Open.
Last year, Barbora Krejcikova won her first Grand Slam singles title on Saturday, then teamed up with Katerina Siniakova to win the doubles title on Sunday.
Gauff won’t make it, but she can still leave Paris with a trophy.