Iga Swiatek's 'ridiculous' act after Ash Barty retirement bombshell

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Iga Swiatek, pictured here after winning the French Open.
Iga Swiatek has asserted herself as the dominant force in women's tennis after Ash Barty's retirement. Image: Getty

If there were any concerns that women's tennis would be lacking star power after Ash Barty's shock retirement, new World No.1 Iga Swiatek has well-and-truly put them to bed.

Barty's retirement at age 25 in April left a huge hole at the top of the women's game, with the Aussie the most dominant World No.1 since Serena Williams in her prime.

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But with Williams not playing since Wimbledon last year and fellow grand slam champions like Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep struggling with inconsistency and injuries, there was a worry that women's tennis might become a basket case.

But Swiatek has done nothing but win since Barty called it quits, completely asserting her dominance as the new force in the WTA.

With her French Open triumph on Saturday, the Polish star won her 35th-consecutive match and the sixth tournament in a row in which she has played.

The 21-year-old now has two grand slams and nine WTA titles to her name, with many more on the horizon.

Swiatek hasn't lost a single match since Barty's unexpected retirement, and now holds the equal-longest winning streak in women's tennis this century.

The Polish star's 35 wins in a row moved her out of a tie with Serena - whose longest-ever streak was 34 matches in 2013.

Swiatek is now equal with Venus Williams, who won 35-consecutive matches in 2000.

Only Roger Federer (42 in 2006) and Novak Djokovic (43 in 2011) have longer winning streaks since the turn of the century.

Swiatek is just the eighth woman in the Open era to win at least 35 matches consecutively, joining Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf, Margaret Court, Chris Evert, Martina Hingis, Monica Seles, and Venus Williams.

Navratilova holds the all-time women's record with 74, followed by Graf (66), Court (57), Evert (55), Hingis (37) and Seles (36).

Iga Swiatek, pictured here showing off the French Open trophy in Paris.
Iga Swiatek shows off the French Open trophy in Paris. (Photo by Andy Cheung/Getty Images)

Tennis world in awe of 'ridiculous' Iga Swiatek run

Swiatek's record in 2022 is 42-3, with one of those losses coming against Barty in Adelaide before the Australian Open in January.

Barty also got the better of Swiatek at the Madrid Open last year, with the Aussie 2-0 in the only two meetings between the pair.

When asked about Barty after the French Open triumph, Swiatek said it would have been nice to test herself against the Aussie star in the midst of her streak.

“I was thinking about that yesterday," she said.

"I would love to be in a better shape than I was when I was playing against her, just have more variety and more abilities and to win against Ash. That would be great.”

Coco Gauff and Iga Swiatek, pictured here with their trophies after the French Open final.
Coco Gauff and Iga Swiatek pose with their trophies after the French Open final. (Photo by Richard Callis ATPImages/Getty Images)

The 21-year-old revealed she has received a number of supportive text messages from Barty since the Aussie star called it quits.

Swiatek's lead over new World No.2 Anett Kontaveit at the top of the WTA rankings is now a staggering 4036 points, setting her up for a long run at the top of women's tennis.

“It was pretty hard for me to believe that I’m going to be World No.1,” said Swiatek, the only Polish player in history to win a grand slam.

“Because thinking logically, when you take my country, how many people have succeeded, it was only Agnieszka [Radwanska] basically.

"The probability of me becoming a tennis superstar was pretty small. I like maths and my brain usually thinks about probabilities, so I felt that maybe it’s not sure and it would be hard to make it happen."

Her staggering rise to the top of tennis has left fans and commentators captivated.

Bill Connelly of ESPN recently tweeted: "Ash Barty retires, and Iga Swiatek immediately turns into 1988 Steffi Graf. Just a ridiculous level of play."

It's pretty hard to see her slowing down anytime soon.

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