Danielle Collins shocked Garbine Muguruza 7-5 2-6 6-4 in a pulsating late-night encounter at the 2020 French Open.
The American, 26, performed well in the first set, dropped her intensity in the second set and then pounced when the Spaniard faltered in the decider.
Collins will face Ons Jabeur in the last 16. The entertaining Tunisian earned an upset of her own when she beat Aryna Sabalenka 7-6(7) 2-6 6-3.
Collins wins first-set hitting contest
The first set was very close-fought. After Muguruza secured an early break, Collins broke back to level the score at 2-2. Then for the rest of the set, both players put on an exhibition of power-hitting.
They matched each other up to 5-5. Then the American held to love to give herself a chance to swing freely against the Spaniard’s serve. She seized it with some huge strikes to wrestle the set away from Muguruza.
Although the World No.15 lost the set, she had every reason to feel puzzled about the outcome. She had a better winners to unforced errors ratio than Collins (14-8 versus 15-16) and she won most of her service games more easily than the American.
In essence, the World No.57 won the opening set courtesy of her ability to save break points with her powerful serve. Because of this, Muguruza only managed to convert one of her eight chances.
Muguruza storms back
To her immense credit, Muguruza remained completely calm and never let the destination of the first set bother her.
The Spaniard stepped out and produced a near-flawless display in the second set. She cracked 11 winners and made just four unforced errors as she broke Collins in the first and fifth games and claimed the set 6-2 in just 33 minutes.
Collins pounces as Muguruza falls away
Muguruza maintained her momentum at the start of the decider. She broke Collins in the opening game for the third consecutive set. Then she staved off two break points during a battling hold that made it 2-0.
In game three, the Spaniard hit two excellent winners to go 0-30 up on the American’s serve. Then Collins made an unforced error on break point.
Muguruza offered the World No.57 a glimmer of hope when she made some sloppy errors to hand her a break. Buoyed by this, the American began to compete more effectively, and the following three tight games were all eventually won by the server to make it 4-3 to the Spaniard.
Then Muguruza faltered again. She served poorly and Collins broke her again to level the score. And the American followed it with a hold to love to pile pressure on the Spaniard.
Surprisingly, the 2016 champion crumbled. She hit two double faults during her worst service game of the match to hand victory to the American.
Kvitova survives but Ostapenko departs
Petra Kvitova fought back from 5-1 down in the opening set to beat Leylah Fernandez 7-5 6-3 and book her place in the fourth round at Roland Garros for the first time since 2015.
The Czech, 30, made a host of unforced errors in the first six games. Meanwhile, the teenage Canadian, who won the junior French Open title last year, started very brightly.
Unfortunately for the 18-year-old, Kvitova drew on all her experience to storm back and take the first set. Then she won the second set relatively easily. The Czech will now face Zhang Shuai in the last 16. The Chinese player beat French wildcard 7-6(2) 7-5.
By contrast, Jelena Ostapenko turned in the kind of performance viewers have become accustomed to during her slide down the rankings.
The Latvian, 23, made 10 double faults and 43 unforced errors during 82 painful minutes on court. Accordingly, she lost 6-4 6-3 to main draw debutant Paula Badosa, who played well throughout.
It was a remarkable win for the Spaniard, 22, who had already achieved her best result at a Grand Slam by reaching the third round. She will now take on another surprise package in the last 16 in the shape of Laura Siegemund. The German upset 13th seed Petra Martic 6-7(5) 6-3 6-0.
Kenin hurries through
Sofia Kenin charged into the last 16 of the French Open courtesy of a 6-2 6-0 victory over Irina Bara that took her just 72 minutes to achieve.
The American, 21, required three sets to win in rounds one and two. But she had no such trouble this time. She sealed a fourth meeting with Fiona Ferro, one of nine unseeded players in the last 16.
The Frenchwoman, 23, is enjoying comfortably the best year of her career so far. And she added another highlight when she overcame Patricia Maria Tig 7-6(7) 4-6 6-0.
Iga Swiatek Explains How Work With Sports Psychologist Aided Her Rapid Rise
The 19-year-old speaks to reporters for the first time since her Grand Slam milestone in Paris.
Recently crowned French Open champion Iga Swiatek believes work on her mental game was key to her shock run.
The 19-year-old Pole stunned the field at Roland Garros as she eased to the title by dropping only 28 games in what is the fewest amount dropped by a female player at the event since Justine Henin back in 2007. En route to the title she beat top 10 players Simona Halep and Sofia Kenin. Prior to the tournament Swiatek was yet to win a title on the WTA Tour and had never gone beyond the fourth round of a major.
Reflecting on her breakout, the teenage rising star believes her work with sports psychologist Daria Abramowicz has been pivotal as she encourages other players to follow the same route as her.
“She understands me and she is a sports psychologist, so both on court and off court she is doing, with me, a great job,” Swiatek told The Associated Press.
“The mental side of tennis is really important,” she added.
Swiatek has been labelled as a future star of the sport after winning the 2018 Wimbledon girls’ title. Since then she has steadily risen up the rankings but had never scored a victory over a top 10 player until this year’s French Open. So far this season she has recorded 16 wins on the Tour with 12 of those taking place across the three Grand Slam tournaments.
“I realized that it doesn’t have a good impact on my tennis and I’m not able to play as good tennis on match(day) as on practice (days), so we tried to change that and we did a great job and I’m really happy that the result of that job is (a) Grand Slam,” she commented on working on her mental game.
Speaking about Swiatek’s rise, Abramowicz said she has managed to ‘use her resources and potential magnificently.’ Dr Abramowicz conducted postgraduate studies in sports psychology at SWPS University of Humanities and Social Sciences in Warsaw.
“Iga is very mindful, despite her young age. She has used her resources and potential magnificently. It wasn’t an easy time though,” she told reporters on Wednesday.
“What you have seen on television is only a fraction of the work done. It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t a metamorphosis, but rather an evolution. The doubles proved very helpful in sticking to one’s routines. Iga withstood excellently the difficulties of this tournament.”
Already the first player from her country to win a major title, Swiatek says her ultimate goal is to win every Grand Slam tournament, as well as a medal at the Olympic Games. Her father is a former rower who participated in the 1988 Olympic Games.
She is currently at a ranking high of 17th in the world.
Is 19-year-old Iga Swiatek bound for greatness?
Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier newspaper tennis columnist James Beck reflects on the potential significance of the French Open women’s final.
Paris is always magical.
The City of Love must be.
Iga Swiatek is the French Open women’s singles champion.
Always talented, always athletic.
But until this fortnight the Polish 19-year-old had never demonstrated any true greatness in women’s tennis. All of a sudden now, even the great John McEnroe is predicting greater greatness from the latest new star of women’s tennis.
A STRANGE YEAR FOR WOMEN’S TENNIS
What a strange year this is in women’s tennis. Sofia Kenin wins the Australian Open before the coronavirus took over the entire world. Kenin came out of nowhere to achieve this amazing feat.
So, just when it appeared Kenin was ready to keep her amazing success story afloat, another surprise arrived with the name Iga Swiatek. It wouldn’t be real surprising that when this coronavirus disappears, hopefully early in 2021, that Swiatek keeps winning Grand Slam titles. It also wouldn’t be surprising if she retires with just one major title.
Swiatek seems to be just that unpredictable.
DID SHADOWS PLAY A KEY ROLE IN THE WOMEN’S FINAL?
Perhaps this time, Swiatek’s glorious day was achieved due to the uncontrollable nature of nature itself. The sun and its shadows appeared to play a major role in how this Grand Slam final started.
Shadows dominated one end of the court at match time on Saturday in the newly covered Court Philippe Chatrier Stadium.
Visibility was dreadful on the TV screen, and it must have been much the same way in Kenin’s eyes when she played the second and third games of the match on the “shadow end” of the court. The 21-year-old American looked out of sorts as if she was playing in darkness and she couldn’t find the ball while falling behind, 3-0.
SHADOWS BRING BACK MEMORIES OF NADAL-SODERLING
The scene brought back memories of Rafa Nadal’s fourth-round match against Robin Soderling in 2009 at Roland Garros. Going into the 2020 final on Sunday against Novak Djokovic, Nadal has suffered only two losses in 88 matches on the red clay of Roland Garros.
Of course, Nadal’s loss to Djokovic in the 2015 quarterfinals at the French Open wasn’t a show stopper, especially when you consider that Djokovic is now slipping up on Nadal’s 19 Grand Slam titles and Roger Federer’s 20 in the all-time major title race.
But for Rafa to lose to the big-hitting Soderling was shocking at the time. Rafa also looked like he was playing in darkness that summer day in 2009. He couldn’t find the ball, either.
KENIN WASN’T NORMAL SELF
Seeing what happened on Saturday in the shadows at Roland Garros, it’s now easier to understand what happened to Nadal that day against Soderling.
Kenin had a miserable day on Saturday. She wasn’t herself, maybe due to the shadows or maybe to her heavily bandaged left thigh. Kenin is a better player than the one audiences around the world saw in her 6-4, 6-1 loss to Swiatek.
FANS FORTUNATE TO CATCH THEM BEFORE THEY BECAME STARS
Watching this French Open women’s final made me acknowledge once again how great it is to reside in a great tennis town that brings the ITF world-wide circuit to your city. It happens all over the world, to large cities and small cities.
Of course, Charleston also has the WTA Tour’s Volvo Car Open where the world’s best current players perform for large crowds of paying viewers.
The ITF Circuit is different.
Swiatek, Kenin and Cori Gauff all played in the $100K ITF tournament at LTP Tennis in Charleston during 2018 or 2019. All free of charge for everyone to view in person or even to enter the current boundaries of social distancing. Autographs, yes. But autograph seekers were rare for these three young stars even that recently.
James Beck has been the long-time tennis columnist for the Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier newspaper. He can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com.
Iga Swiatek Not Ready To Step Out of The Shadows Of Radwanska Despite ‘Life-Changing’ French Open Win
The teenage sensation is the latest new star of women’s tennis but how good does she think she can be?
Poland has a new tennis sensation but Iga Swiatek says she still has a long way to go following her shock run to the French Open title.
The 19-year-old has stunned the sport by lifting her first Grand Slam title without dropping a set. Something that was last achieved by Justine Henin back in 2007. In the process she beat top 10 players Simona Halep and Sofia Kenin in what is an impressive run for the former Wimbledon girls champion who had never previously won a WTA title until now.
Now she has shot into the limelight, the new champion is expected to face a surge of interest both home and abroad from the public and sponsors. She is the first ever Polish player in history to have won a Grand Slam title with some predicting her to become an even better player than Agnieska Radwanska. A former poster girl of tennis in Poland who peaked at a ranking high of No.2 and won 20 WTA trophies before retiring in 2018.
“I just feel like I kind of made history. But I still think that Radwanska has achieved a lot because she played at the top level of WTA for, I don’t know, 12 years,” said Swiatek.
“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 still I have a lot to do. I still think that’s kind of her place.”
Branding her victory over Kenin in Saturday’s final as a ‘life-changing experience,’ Swiatek admits that there is no time for her to be complacent given the recent history of women’s tennis. Since 2017 Kenin, Naomi Osaka, Bianca Andreescu and Jelena Ostapenko have all won a major title without previously reaching the quarter-final of a Grand Slam. Within that period, 12 different players have won a major title.
“I feel like I can make progress in most things because I’m only 19,” she said. “I know my game isn’t developed perfectly. Also I think the biggest change for me is going to be to be consistent.’
“I think this is what women’s tennis is struggling with. That’s why we have so many new Grand Slam winners because we are not as consistent as Rafa, Roger, and Novak. That’s why my goal is going to be to be consistent.”
Without a doubt she is on the right trajectory with many players hailing the uniqueness of her game with shots such as her ‘spinny forehand.’ The phrase Kenin used to describe her opponents shot. She gets her athlete mentality from her father, Tomasz, who is a former Rower that competed in the 1988 Olympic Games for Poland. There is also another key element.
In recent months Swiatek has been guided on the Tour by sports psychologist Daria Abramowicz. Throughout the French Open she has spoken openly about the importance of the mental side when it comes to the sport.
“I use everything that my psychologist taught me during a match. For sure I’m doing the biggest work on the court,” she stated
“What is the role of sports psychology in the performance? I think it is a huge role. I can see the difference when I’m mentally prepared and I’m ready to handle the stress, the pressure. I can see the difference where I can’t. That’s why I’m sometimes losing in the first round and sometimes I can win a tournament.”
Swiatek’s approach should also help her when she comes to terms with her newfound fame. Fellow player Osaka has previously spoken about the difficulty of her rapid rise in the sport and being pushed into the limelight following her maiden Grand Slam win. Although the Pole believes she is ready to embrace it.
“I know it’s going to be crazy. I think I’m going to get used to that, it’s not going to be a problem for me,” she said about her new fame. “I don’t’ have a problem with getting attention, with people surrounding me. I think it’s going to be okay for me.”
On Monday Swiatek will rise to a ranking high of 17th in the world.
Maria Sakkari reaches her third quarter final of the season in Ostrava
Alexander Zverev continues his winning streak in Cologne with a three-set win over John Millman
Grigor Dimitrov rallies from one set down to beat Pablo Andujar in Antwerp
Julia Goerges Announces Retirement From Tennis
Novak Djokovic Explains Why He Is Skipping The Paris Masters
French Open, Steve Flink: “Nadal is close to his best. Sinner will be in the Top 10 within a year”
Andy Murray Outlines Next Steps Following Cologne Defeat
Goran Ivanisevic Under Fire Over French Open Comment Involving Djokovic And Nadal
COMMENT: Rafa At His Best Was Way Too Much For Novak To Handle
‘Completely Sick’ Alexander Zverev Reveals He Had Been Suffering From A Fever After French Open Exit
French Open, Steve Flink: “Nadal is inhuman. He can play three or four more years and retire with Djokovic”
Scanagatta And Flink: “We Both Think Djokovic Will Win The French Open, So Nadal Will Definitely Pull It Off!”
Steve Flink: “Djokovic Will Be Happy About The French Open Draw”
Flink: “Zverev wasted the lead, but Thiem would have been more affected by a loss”
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