Iga Swiatek overcomes Karolina Muchova in thrilling French Open final

PC – Roland Garros

Iga Swiatek, the No.1 ranked tennis player, won the French Open for the third time in the last four years. The 22-year-old Polish player defeated the unseeded Karolina Muchova from Czech Republic in a gruelling three-setter. At 22, Swiatek is the second-youngest woman to defend the French Open crown after Monica Seles. The final scoreline read:  6-2, 5-7, 6-4. 

After winning the match, Siwatek sank to her knees. She also went up to her box to say thank you to her team members. It was followed by the legendary tennis player, Chris Evert, presenting the coveted  Suzanne Lenglen Cup trophy to Swiatek. Evert also ended up comforting Muchova, who was reduced to tears during the presentation ceremony.

“Thank you guys! First of all congrats to Karolina, since we first played I know we were going to play tough matches. I was really struck with your variety on court, I know we are going to have many more finals. Congrats to your team as well. 

“I wouldn’t be here without my team, thank you guys. I know we won this tournament but it isn’t easy. Thank you to my family as well, so many people have come from Poland I really feel the love. I know I have said this every year, It isn’t really about the performance I really love being here – it’s my favourite place on tour,” Swiatek said at the presentation.

The final set certainly turned out to be an epic battle, with both players trading quite a few breaks on the way. Muchova, who seemed to have the momentum after winning the second set, began the final set on the right note by breaking Swiatek in the first game itself. Muchova then held her serve as Siwatek struggled to land her returns.

At that moment, Swiatek looked a touch rattled. After all, the second set was the first time she had dropped a set in the entire tournament. After holding her serve for the first time in the final set, Swiatek then broke back. One of the highlights of that game was the way the No.1-ranked player sliced a ball that left Muchova gasping for breath. 

There were a few more breaks in the crucial set, with Muchova making it 3-4. Just that Swiatek pulled one back to make it 4-4. In that game, Muchova did save a couple of break points – one with the volley and the next with an ace. However, Swiatek persisted and broke back on the third break point.

Eventually, with the scoreline reading 5-4, Swiatek provided the finishing touches by breaking Muchova for one final time. A few Unforced Errors didn’t help Muchova’s cause. Muchova’s serve, which turned out to be a weapon for her in the final, also let her down on Championship Point, as he made a Double Fault. Incidentally, Muchova had saved a match point in thesemi-final against Aryna Sabelanka.

The second set too had its share of thrills and spills, with Muchova making an amazing comeback after being 6-2, 3-0 down. Ultimately, Muchova converted her third set point to ensure it was one-set all. The standout point of that set was Muchova’s big serves, forehands and volleys. In contrast to the final two sets, Swiatek comfortably won the first set.

So what about the stats for the match? Even though Muchova served more aces (6), Swiatek had a better first serve percentage. She also won more points on the first (62%) and second serves (57%). Meanwhile, Muchova hit more winners (38) and had more forays (18/28) to the net. Swiatek kept her unforced errors down to 27, and when needed landed some strong returns. In a way, Swiatek’s slightly more percentage play beat Muchova’s flair. 

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