Swiatek blames wandering mind after ousting Osaka in French Open thriller

By Sports Desk May 29, 2024

Iga Swiatek acknowledged her mind was not always in Wednesday's match as the world number one survived a French Open scare against Naomi Osaka.

The three-time Roland-Garros champion appeared set for an early exit on Court Philippe-Chatrier after trailing 4-1 in the deciding set.

Matters worsened for the Polish tennis star when Osaka mustered a 5-3 lead, but Japan's four-time major winner relinquished a match point with Swiatek on the ropes.

The defending French Open champion responded in blistering style, eventually triumphing 7-6 (7-1) 1-6 7-5 to reach the third round unscathed.

After a shock to the system and nearing an early exit, Swiatek said she struggled to focus at times in Paris.

"For sure I felt for most of the match that I wasn't really here and now," Swiatek said.

"My mind was flying around sometimes, but when I was really under the biggest pressure I was able to focus more and play better, not thinking about what the score is and that I was really close to losing.

"I just kept going forward and I hope that my game is going to get better because of that."

Aged 22 years and 363 days, Swiatek is the third-youngest women's player, after Monica Seles and Steffi Graf, to win 16 consecutive matches at the French Open during the Open Era.

Victory also marked her 30th win at Roland-Garros, as many as Seles before turning 23.

Only Graf (47), Sanchez Vicario (39), Gabriela Sabatini (34) and Martina Hingis (31) have registered more wins when under the age of 23 at this event during the Open Era.

"For sure this match was really intense," Swiatek added in her on-court interview.

"Much more intense for the second round than I ever expected. Naomi played amazing tennis, with a really loose hand – maybe she's gonna be a clay-court specialist in a while."

The Pole has also now won 69 of her 70 completed WTA main-draw matches on clay after winning the opening set.

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