Unseeded Polish teen Iga Swiatek has come from nowhere to claim her maiden Grand Slam title.
She faced the 2020 Australian Open winner Sofia Kenin from the USA. This win was even more surprising than that of Ash Barty in 2019.
Swiatek was ranked at no. 54 going into the tournament and as was Jelena Ostapenko in 2017 she was unseeded.
Swiatek is the second Polish woman ever to reach the final in Paris, following in the footsteps of 1939 runner-up Jadwiga Jedrzejowska.
Agnieszka Radwanska nearly became Poland’s first Grand Slam singles winner in 2012, when she took a set off of Serena Williams in the Wimbledon final.
“I still think that Radwanska, she achieved a lot because she played on the top level of WTA for, I don’t know, 12 years,” Swiatek said when talking about Radwanska. “I know there’s going to be a lot of people who are going to compare us. But I think I have to be really consistent for the next couple years for everybody to name me the best player in Poland, because I still have a lot to do. Still, I think that’s kind of her place.”
In the final Swiatek raced to a 3-0 lead after getting an early break. Kenin was able to fight back to get level at 3-3 before Swiatek held then broke after a marathon game eight.
Kenin was able to stay in the first set after breaking back for 4-5, only to be broken again in the next game to concede the opening set after 53 minutes.
Kenin lifted briefly and was hitting with great power and placement but this still was not enough despite breaking in the first game.
Swiatek quickly marched through the second set, only to be held up for a while as Kenin left the court to have her thigh wrapped.
In the end it was Swiatek that didn’t let nerves get the better of her as she claimed a 6-4, 6-1 victory.
With her current ranking of 54, Swiatek is the lowest-ranked women’s singles champion in Roland-Garros history (since the rankings were introduced in 1975).
“On one hand it’s pretty inspiring,” Swiatek said of her improbable run to the title. “Sometimes I caught myself visualising that I’m also winning a Grand Slam. But on the other hand it was also really far away. Right now when I’m here and I’m a Grand Slam champion, it’s crazy. You believe in things, but in the back of your head you know that there’s going to be, like, huge amount of work that you have to do to win that. Then after two weeks of great playing, you already have it. It’s just – I don’t know – overwhelming.”