PARIS | She was opposed to the highest ranked player after her still in the running at Roland-Garros, but the Polish Iga Swiatek was again intractable on Wednesday, signing a 33rd consecutive win.
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The 6-3, 6-2 triumph over American Jessica Pegula, seeded 12 in Paris, sees the world No. 1 alone hold third place among players with the most straight wins since the start of the century.
If she wins Thursday in the semi-final against the Russian Daria Kasatkina (20), she will equal the mark established by Serena Williams in 2013. And if she wins the ultimate match on Saturday, she will join the other Williams, Venus, who had won 35 games in a row 22 years ago.
The Kasatkina Challenge
Who, therefore, will be able to stop Swiatek, only 21 years old, but undefeated since the round of 16 in Dubai, in mid-February?
"I thought I was hitting the ball well [Wednesday], but it's the best to keep the pressure on an opponent and not give a lot of opportunities," Pegula said at a press conference.
Thursday around 9 a.m. Quebec time, the Polish will compete in Kasatkina against a player who has not lost a set since the start of the Paris fortnight.
Her Wednesday victory, 6-4 and 7-6 (5) against her compatriot Veronika Kudermetova (29), was her most complicated at Porte d'Auteuil this year. Swiatek, she escaped a set at Roland-Garros: a tiebreaker against the young Chinese Quinwen Zheng, 74th in the world.
It will certainly be a good test for the world's leading racquet... but the latter has already beaten the Russian on three occasions this season, including twice before the start of her incredible streak.
But Kasatkina assured not to worry about her recent results against Swiatek, whom she had eliminated in their very first confrontation, last year on the grass of Eastbourne.
“I lost those games, but it was different, raised the 20th seed. It was on the hard, at the beginning of the year, I did not have the same form as at this moment. And you can't compare tomorrow to February or March. »
"But hey, she's good on hard and clay, so the surface doesn't matter..." she added. Except that for me, as well to face it on the ochre. I have a good winning streak on this surface [five]. I feel good in Paris. »
Free and dangerous
If Swiatek does win a 34th game in a row Thursday in Paris, she will next face the winner of the duel between American Coco Gauff, 18 and 18th seed, and Martina Trevisan, 59th in the world, who defeated Leylah Fernandez in quarters. No, the title, which would be his sixth in a row, is not in his pocket. But at the start of the tournament, Swiatek had assured not to feel pressure in front of this victorious sequence, knowing very well that it would come to an end one day.
But on Wednesday, the 2020 Roland-Garros champion – under different conditions, the tournament having been played in the fall – added to it.
“With the points I have collected now, I feel more free. I don't have a lot of points to defend, so even if I have a bad game, it doesn't change much, ”she pointed out.
This seems to explain why Swiatek hasn't seen any for... five months.
When Mauresmo shocks the players
Evening sessions on the Philippe-Chatrier are a recent phenomenon at Roland-Garros, and they are not unanimous. They are expensive (between $130 and $520), almost the same price as daytime ones, where spectators have the opportunity to attend several games. They end late (past 1 hour for the clash between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic) and some players, "Rafa" in particular, do not appreciate the colder conditions. They are also presented on the Prime platform and not on the public channel France Télévisions, to the detriment of several viewers. But on Wednesday, these "night sessions" made the players react. Because when she was questioned as to why only one of the 10 evening matches had involved women – that between the French Alizée Cornet and the Latvian Jelena Ostapenko (13) – Amélie Mauresmo, the new director of the tournament did not did not wear white gloves. "Women's tennis matches are less attractive," dropped the former world number 1 at a press conference. Among the current rackets questioned about this, the Polish Iga Swiatek was particularly shocked. "It's surprising and even disappointing, especially since [Mauresmo] is on the side of the WTA", regretted the Pole. "It's disappointing and it's something we don't want to hear," added her opponent of the day, American Jessica Pegula.
A machine called Coco Gauff
With less than 24 hours until the first Grand Slam semi-final of her career, 18-year-old American Coco Gauff was on the court for a women's doubles match. At his side was his compatriot Jessica Pegula, who had just lost her match against Poland's Iga Swiatek. Under such conditions, several singles players would have chosen to abandon their doubles match. But not the pair from the United States, which even reached the four aces. Although Pegula thought it was a big day for her. “I was exhausted! But Coco, she is 18 years old [Pegula is 10 years older]. It bounces everywhere, it runs everywhere. Me, I put a bandage on my leg and I just try to stay in one piece! “, launched the American.