Iga Swiatek has become the first Polish player in tennis history to win a singles grand slam title, shocking the world to triumph at the French Open.
Securing a first grand slam title is supposed to be an arduous task, but the 19-year-old crowned an extraordinary fortnight to win the French Open in a blaze of winners on Saturday, crushing Sofia Kenin 6-4 6-1.
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Swiatek, who had dropped only 23 games en route to the final, produced another audacious display as she announced herself as a young champion of rare quality.
Only briefly in the first set did Swiatek show any weakness, letting slip a 3-0 lead, but having edged a tightly-contested opening set she romped to victory, although fourth seed Kenin’s challenge appeared to be hampered by a thigh injury.
Australian Open champion Kenin, herself only 21, needed treatment at 1-2 in the second set and, on the resumption, Swiatek was utterly ruthless, conceding only three more points, sealing the title with an unstoppable forehand, her 25th winner.
Unseeded Swiatek, who was ranked 54th at the start of the tournament, is the youngest woman to win the French Open since Monica Seles in 1992 and the first to do so without dropping a set during the fortnight since Justine Henin in 2007.
After claiming victory she made her way into the stands to celebrate with her family, including former Olympic rower father Tomasz and her coach Piotr Sierzputowski.
“It was overwhelming for me. Two years ago I won a junior grand slam and now I'm here. It feels like such a short time. I'm just overwhelmed,” Swiatek, the lowest-ranked woman to win the French Open since rankings were introduced in 1975, said after returning to the court.
“Another underdog wins a grand slam in women’s tennis, it’s crazy.”
Tennis world erupts over never-before-seen moment
It was a sad end to the tournament for Kenin who was unable to find the form that saw her power past Petra Kvitova in the semi-finals.
Swiatek began the match on the shady side of the Court Philippe Chatrier court with Kenin in bright sunshine, but it was the Pole's tennis that illuminated the 84-minute final.
She began as freely as if it was match down at her local club in Warsaw, sprinting into a 3-0 lead.
Kenin, whose tightly-wound and expressive demeanour was a stark contrast to Swiatek's calm approach, fought back to 3-3 as her backhand began to do some damage.
Swiatek came through a tense service game at 3-3 and, in the best passage of play in the final, then broke Kenin after another long game in which she saved a game point with a superb drop volley, having chased down a drop shot.
Kenin broke serve with a glorious backhand to trail 5-4 but Swiatek was feasting on the American's serve and broke for the third time in the set to move to take the opener.
Swiatek dropped serve at the start of the second set but hit back immediately and Kenin's challenge faded rapidly after she had her left thigh heavily taped.
Logic suggests nerves might have became a factor as glory beckoned but Swiatek bashed winners all over the court to announce herself as the sport's latest sensation in style.
The sporting world was left in disbelief over the never-before-seen moment.
What an amazing success, what a great story! Good job @iga_swiatek 🎾👏🤜🤛— Robert Lewandowski (@lewy_official) October 10, 2020
Two years ago we enjoyed watching you train at the #RafaNadalAcademy as a Junior player. Today we are happy to see you win #RolandGarros ‼️Amazing‼️ Congratulations @iga_swiatek! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 pic.twitter.com/iGjqpIw5gg— Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar (@rnadalacademy) October 10, 2020
Have not been watching tennis for a while. This lady Swiatek looks like she is going to dominate woman’s tennis for a long while. Great ground strokes, serve and just strong attitude. Can’t wait for a match between her and Serena. #FrenchOpen2020 woman’s final— Mmusi Maimane (@MmusiMaimane) October 10, 2020
Swiatek becomes the 2nd most dominant Roland Garros women's singles champion* in terms of "games lost". Incredible stat. 2nd only after Graf's legendary 1988 run.— Gökalp Taşkesen (@gokotaskes) October 10, 2020
Unbelievable that she achieved this at 19.
*doesn't include 1969-80 and '82 where champ had to play <7 rounds pic.twitter.com/kTZzLTmDre
Ever since Boris Becker captured my imagination in the 1985 Wimbledon final, this is the first time I had no clue who the finalists were in a Grand Slam tournament.— The Zooter (@BluntBong) October 10, 2020
But Iga, oh my god, you're a champion for the long run. Congrats, @iga_swiatek #FrenchOpen2020
OH MY GOD SWIATEK!!!!!!!!— andre (@andreopines) October 10, 2020
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