Twenty months ago, an unheralded Iga Swiatek became the lowest-ranked woman to win the French Open. Today, Swiatek won her second French Open as the world’s most dominant tennis player in years, and perhaps for years to come.
The Polish star swept 18-year-old American Coco Gauff 6-1, 6-3, extending her win streak to 35 matches, the longest in women’s tennis since 2000.
“This time, I felt the pressure, I felt baggage on my shoulders because I wasn’t an underdog anymore,” said Swiatek, undefeated since ascending to No. 1 after Australian Ash Barty‘s shock retirement in March. “I’m even more proud of that, that I could do it for the second time.”
The 23rd-ranked Gauff, the youngest major finalist since Maria Sharapova won 2004 Wimbledon, lost the first four games. She then took the first two games of the second set before Swiatek seized control for good.
“She really didn’t give me anything. Every time I thought I hit a good ball, it wasn’t,” Gauff said. “Now that I have seen the level, this level of No. 1 and 35 matches, I know that what I have to do.”
Swiatek, 21, extended the most dominant reign in women’s tennis since Serena Williams‘ heyday. She last lost a match in February. She has dropped just two sets in her last 27 matches. She owns nearly double the rankings points as the world No. 2.
In 10 career WTA Tour finals, Swiatek is 9-1. She lost her first final (at age 17), and since won her last nine without dropping more than five games.
If she wins her next tournament, Swiatek will have the longest win streak in women’s tennis since Steffi Graf won 66 in a row in 1989-90.
“You didn’t wake up to be ordinary #1GA,” the blue T-shirts worn by those in Swiatek’s player box read. Swiatek, who won this title while ranked 54th in October 2020, wore a jacket for her victory speech with two gold stars, surely signifying the two Roland Garros titles.
Gauff continued an ascent from junior prodigy to standout pro. She won the 2018 French Open junior title at 14, then Coco Mania broke out with her 2019 Wimbledon fourth-round run. She followed that by making the 2021 French Open quarterfinals.
“For a while I really believed that I couldn’t do it just because ever since I was 15 and I first came on, people had so much expectations for me, and I started to believe that I couldn’t do it,” Gauff said on NBC. “I made a final, and I wasn’t expecting it. I know that I’ll get this opportunity again.”
Gauff moves up to a career-high No. 13 in the rankings going into the grass-court season and a return to Wimbledon.
“I’m sorry I wasn’t able to get this one today,” a tearful Gauff said, looking at her player box in her runner-up speech. “Hopefully, this is the first final of many.”
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