It’s been a rollercoaster French Open so far, with huge upsets keeping things spicy while tournament favorite Iga Swiatek stands the test of time.
This year’s Roland Garros continues to show why women’s tennis is one of the most interesting leagues of any sport to watch. As results become more and more unpredictable, we are also seeing the rise of a dominant star in Iga Swiatek as her epic run of success continues. In what is quickly turning into the ‘wild west’ of tennis, it’s every woman for herself as we enter the final stages of Paris’ prestigious event!
Iga Swiatek’s unstoppable win streak
Securing her 31st win in the third round by toppling Danka Kovinic, Iga Swiatek has seemingly forgotten how to lose! In fact, the world number one has gone well over three months without losing a match, her last defeat at the hands of Jelena Ostapenko in Dubai back in February. The incredible thing to note is Swiatek’s momentum has not shown any signs of ceasing even on the big stage of a Grand Slam as she continues to rip through the tournament without dropping a set.
While Swiatek has yet to go up against a seeded player, there’s no doubt her fourth-round opponent will prove to be her greatest threat so far. After taking down 19th seed Simona Halep in the second round, Zheng Qinwen has been playing exceptional tennis and is definitely one of the rising teen stars in the draw. Beating the unstoppable Iga Swiatek may seem like an impossible task for the time being, but Zheng does have the confidence of a win over Halep to ease her into the match and drive her self-belief as she takes on the world number one.
Coco Gauff’s athleticism could pay off big
Leading the charge for the teens as the youngest player in the draw, Coco Gauff is producing similar results to the world No.1 having not dropped a set as she enters the quarterfinals. One of the aspects of Gauff’s game that has proven to be an effective weapon is her athleticism and on-court movement. The 18-year-old’s speed and agility have only been amplified further by the slower pace of the clay court and the enablement of sliding, resulting in an improved defensive game that is seeing the teen reap some huge results.
In what will likely be her greatest challenge in the tournament thus far, Coco Gauff will be tasked with getting past Sloane Stephens in order to proceed into the semifinals. Coming off the back of a straight-set win against the number 23 seed Jil Teichmann, Stephens has just as much momentum as Gauff as they ride into this all-American quarterfinal match. Gauff will be looking to secure her first win over her compatriot after being toppled by Stephens in the 2021 US Open in their only ever encounter.
Leylah Fernandez focused as a hunter
Her results may not be as seamlessly perfect and unscathed as Swiatek or Gauff’s, but the level of Leylah Fernandez’s opponents thus far has certainly been of a higher standard. Cruising through the first two rounds without dropping a set, the young Canadian faced some challenging opponents in the third and fourth rounds with the likes of Belinda Bencic and Amanda Anisimova in the mix. Getting through these three-set thrillers on top has sharpened Fernandez into a battle-hardened warrior who has arguably had the best wins of the tournament so far.
Nicknamed “Clay-lah” after her impressive Roland Garros streak so far, Fernandez is proving herself as a force to be reckoned with on the clay surface. Attributing some of her early inspiration to the competitive attitude of Rafael Nadal, it would seem there are more similarities between these two lovers of clay than being a left-handed Babolat player. Indeed, Leylah Fernandez has shown quite a few similarities to the 13-time Roland Garros champion in her last few matches, displaying laser-like focus, mental fortitude, and immense composure to outlast her opponents.
As of now, Iga Swiatek is still showing no signs of succumbing to defeat, and it would seem the stakes of a Grand Slam have inspired a greater level of focus in the Pole rather than feelings of pressure or doubt. The best hopes of ending Swiatek’s streak likely rest in the hands of the teens who are soaring to great heights. With Zheng Qinwen producing the upset of the tournament so far, Coco Gauff maintaining her perfect scoreline, and Leylah Fernandez outlasting some of the tournament’s top seeds, world No.1 Iga Swiatek will have to remain as focused as ever to stay on top of the competition.