Swiatek wins 36th match in a row, Nadal also advances at Wimbledon
WIMBLEDON, England -- From the red clay of the French Open to the green grass of Wimbledon, the wins keep coming for Iga Swiatek.
The top-seeded Pole won her opening match on Centre Court, beating Croatian qualifier Jana Fett 6-0, 6-3.
The victory was Swiatek’s 36th in row and includes all seven matches she played at this year’s French Open in winning her second title at Roland Garros. It’s the longest winning streak on the women’s tour since 1997, when Martina Hingis won 37.
“It’s my first match on grass this season, so I knew it’s going to be tricky,” Swiatek said on court. “I’m just figuring out how to play here and trying to implement all the stuff that we were practicing on.”
The men’s champion at Roland Garros also won at Wimbledon. Rafael Nadal defeated Francisco Cerundolo 6-4, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 in the first round a few hours after Swiatek finished her match.
Swiatek is the woman to beat. She won five tournaments before heading to Paris in May, earning consecutive titles in Doha, Indian Wells, Miami, Stuttgart and Rome.
Swiatek, again wearing a pin with the colors of Ukraine on her hat, started out like she left off in her last match at the French Open. But she went down 3-1 in the second set before recovering.
“The second set, at the beginning I lost my focus a little bit and she used that pretty well,” Swiatek said.
Coco Gauff, who lost to Swiatek in this year’s French Open final, also won her opening match. The 11th-seeded American beat Elena-Gabriela Ruse of Romania 2-6, 6-3, 7-5.
Gauff got the go-ahead break in the third set at 5-5 on her sixth break point of the game when Ruse double-faulted.
In her two previous appearances at the All England Club, Gauff reached the fourth round.
Barbora Krejcikova, who won the French Open in 2021 to split Swiatek’s two titles there, also advanced to the second round. The 13th-seeded Czech defeated Maryna Zanevska of Belgium 7-6 (4), 6-3.
No. 4 Paula Badosa, No. 5 Maria Sakkari, No. 12 Jelena Ostapenko, No. 16 Simona Halep of Romania and No. 25 Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic also advanced. Both Halep and Kvitova are former champions at the All England Club.
Among the seeded player to lose was Olympic champion Belinda Bencic. The 14th-seeded Swiss player lost to Qiang Wang of China 6-4, 5-7, 6-2.
No. 18 Jil Teichmann of Switzerland, No. 20 Amanda Anisimova of the United States and No. 27 Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan also lost.
Like Swiatek, Nadal was also playing for the first time since Paris, where he won his men’s record 22nd Grand Slam singles title. And because of the pandemic and his left-foot injury, he said he hadn’t played on grass since 2019, when he reached the semifinals at the All England Club.
The two-time Wimbledon champion is attempting to win his third consecutive Grand Slam tournament, but his foot is a question mark.
“Every day is a test and today has been one of these important tests,” Nadal said on court. “I know at the beginning of the tournament especially, and the difficult circumstances that I arrived here, the victory is the most important thing because that gives me the chance to practice tomorrow again and to have another match in two days.”
Also in the men’s draw, No. 18 Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria retired from his match with an apparent injury. He was leading Steve Johnson of the United States 6-4, 2-5 when he stopped.
No. 12 Diego Schwartzman of Argentina, No. 15 Reilly Opelka of the United States, No. 17 Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain and unseeded Nick Kyrgios of Australia also won.