Iga Swiatek rallies to defeat Naomi Osaka at French Open

League: Tennis

Posted on: 29 May, 2024 at 09:29 PM

Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

World No. 1 Iga Swiatek rallied from a break down in the third set to defeat four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka in the second round of the French Open on Wednesday at Roland Garros in Paris.

Swiatek held on for a 7-6 (1), 1-6, 7-5 victory in 2 hours and 57 minutes. She trailed 4-1 in the final set and saved match point trailing 5-3, winning the final five games to advance.

"For sure this match was really intense," Swiatek said. "Much more intense for the second round than I ever expected. Naomi played amazing tennis, with a really loose hand - maybe she's gonna be a clay-court specialist in a while."

The three-time French Open champion survived eight aces by Osaka while batting her own serve. Swiatek won just 65 percent of her first serves but converted 92 percent of her net points.

Osaka, a former World No. 1 herself, has never made it past the third round at the French Open. Swiatek won the French Open in 2020, 2022, 2023.

"For sure I felt for most of the match that I wasn't really here and now," Swiatek said. "My mind was flying around sometimes, but when I was really under the biggest pressure I was able to actually focus more and play better, not thinking about what the score is and that I was really close to losing."

Also on Wednesday, No. 3 Coco Gauff defeated Slovenian Tamara Zidansek 6-3, 6-4 in 91 minutes. Gauff landed just 48 percent of her first serves but won them 73 percent of the time.

"It was really slow today, so I felt like my balls weren't bouncing as much as normal," Gauff said. "I think it's just with the humidity from all the rain. It was very slow, which I think maybe catered to her game a little more."

In other action, eighth-seeded Ons Jabeur of Tunisia posted a 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 win over Camila Osorio of Colombia.

"I just tried to focus a lot on my serve," Jabeur said. "I was trying to be more aggressive. Obviously, when the balls are new, it's even better for me.

"I felt like it was a bit humid inside that court. But yeah, I know I had the game to win this match. I just needed to believe more."

Jabeur, who won her match in 1 hour and 45 minutes, will face the winner of the match between Wang Xiyu of China and Leylah Fernandez of Canada.

Also, unseeded Sofia Kenin secured a 6-3, 6-3 win over 21st-seeded Caroline Garcia of France. Kenin, who was a finalist at the 2020 French Open, dispatched Garcia in 85 minutes to set up a match against either 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia or Clara Tauson of Denmark.

Kenin entered this tournament with a 4-13 record on the season.

"This is the place where you want everything to come together," she said. "At the start of the year, I wasn't playing as I am playing right now.

"I feel like I'm definitely (more fit), doing the right things from my end: fitness, diet, everything. Obviously, it's paying off."

--Field Level Media