Iga Swiatek sweeps into French Open final, where she faces a surprise
Iga Swiatek marched into the French Open final without dropping a set in six matches. All that stands between her and a third Roland Garros title is an unseeded foe.
Swiatek plays 43rd-ranked Czech Karolina Muchova in the women’s singles final, live Saturday at 9 a.m. ET on NBC, NBCSports.com/live, the NBC Sports app and Peacock.
Swiatek, the top-ranked Pole, swept 14th seed Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil 6-2, 7-6 (7) in Thursday’s semifinal in her toughest test all tournament. Haddad Maia squandered three break points at 4-all in the second set.
Swiatek dropped just 23 games thus far, matching her total en route to her first French Open final in 2020 (which she won for her first WTA Tour title of any kind). After her semifinal, she signed a courtside camera with the hashtag #stepbystep.
“For sure I feel like I’m a better player,” than in 2020, she said. “Mentally, tactically, physically, just having the experience, everything. So, yeah, my whole life basically.”
Swiatek can become the third woman since 2000 to win three French Opens after Serena Williams and Justine Henin and, at 22, the youngest woman to win four total majors since Williams in 2002.
Muchova upset No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus to reach her first major final.
Muchova, a 26-year-old into the second week of the French Open for the first time, became the first player to take a set off the powerful Belarusian all tournament, then rallied from down 5-2 in the third set to prevail 7-6 (5), 6-7 (5), 7-5.
Sabalenka, who overcame previous erratic serving to win the Australian Open in January, had back-to-back double faults in her last service game.
“Lost my rhythm,” she said. “I wasn’t there.”
Muchova broke up what many expected would be a Sabalenka-Swiatek final, which would have been the first No. 1 vs. No. 2 match at the French Open since Williams beat Maria Sharapova in the 2013 final.
Muchova is unseeded, but was considered dangerous going into the tournament.
In 2021, she beat then-No. 1 Ash Barty to make the Australian Open semifinals, then reached a career-high ranking of 19. She dropped out of the top 200 last year while struggling through injuries.
“Some doctors told me maybe you’ll not do sport anymore,” Muchova said. “It’s up and downs in life all the time. Now I’m enjoying that I’m on the upper part now.”
Muchova has won all five of her matches against players ranked in the top three. She also beat Swiatek in their lone head-to-head, but that was back in 2019 when both players were unaccomplished young pros. They have since practiced together many times.
“I really like her game, honestly,” Swiatek said. “I really respect her, and she’s I feel like a player who can do anything. She has great touch. She can also speed up the game. She plays with that kind of freedom in her movements. And she has a great technique. So I watched her matches, and I feel like I know her game pretty well.”
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