On her 20th birthday, Poland’s Iga Swiatek successfully started her French Open title defense with a 6-0 7-5 victory over Kaja Juvan of Slovenia.
Just ahead of their noon meeting in Paris, as Swiatek was warming up on a mat, Juvan approached to hug her, probably to wish her a happy birthday. So nice!
Just a casual hug with your best friend on tour, before you play them at @rolandgarros🥺@iga_swiatek | Kaja Juvan
🎥: @rolandgarros pic.twitter.com/L6DBarFHwO
— wta (@WTA) May 31, 2021
The eighth-seeded Swiatek was not distracted by the heartwarming pre-match moment and the fact that her opponent was her best friend of Tour. Playing with the Tecnifibre T-Rebound 298 IGA racquet designed specifically for her game, the Pole served a bagel in the 26-minute first set, as her opponent hit no winners, and started the second set with a 3-1 lead.
A break back in the fifth game of the second set allowed Juvan to stay competitive. The world No.101 didn’t give last year’s Roland Garros champion a lot of chances in the second set, but still the favorite managed to convert her fourth match point at 6-5 on her opponent’s serve and progress into the second round after one hour and 27 minutes of play.
During the post-match on-court interview, retired WTA star Marion Bartoli handed Swiatek a flower bouquet and sang a happy birthday song on the microphone.
Juvan and Swiatek also had a nice chat and hug at the net and beyond after the match. I believe I heard Kaja say “at least the second set was cool.” So much better to have this exchange, than just a racket tap.
Jim, yeah, they had a nice conversation after the match. I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but I could see that Kaja was very friendly and happy for Iga.