Iga Swiatek Defeats Naomi Osaka in Thrilling Second-Round Match


World number one tennis star Iga Swiatek secured a win over former world number one Naomi Osaka in a grueling, hard-fought second-round match at the ongoing French Open on Wednesday. Swiatek triumphed over Osaka with a score of 7-6 (1), 1-6, 7-5 after both players were tied at five-all in the final set.

The current champion, who has secured three Roland Garros titles, is considered one of the finest active players on clay. Just five months into her comeback following her daughter Skai’s birth, Osaka pushed Swiatek to her limit and even won a set against the top-ranked women’s player.

In this tense match, comparable to a championship final in terms of the quality of tennis played, a vintage Osaka was at work. Following her win, Swiatek said as quoted by WTA, “It is hard to have any logical thoughts, because for sure it was really intense and on a really high level. I was in huge trouble in the third set. I honestly did not believe that I could win — that would be pretty naive. But I managed somehow to win this match. I am glad I did not give up.”

Osaka, who cried after leaving the court, remarked 30 minutes later while talking to the media that this was the most fun match she has participated in since her comeback. “It just felt really incredible, the atmosphere, and how fun I guess everyone in the crowd was having, too. It was definitely very memorable for me,” she said. “I kind of realize I was watching Iga win this tournament last year, and I was pregnant. It was just my dream to be able to play her. When I kind of think of it like that, I think I am doing pretty well,” she added.

This was Swiatek’s 16th successive win at the French Open, the most since Justine Henin’s 24 straight wins between 2005-10. It also marks the Polish star’s 14th straight win this year.

Osaka secured more points, had 17 more winners, and more service breaks under her belt. But Swiatek prevailed at the most crucial junctures to end the match in two hours and 57 minutes. “That was much more intense for a second-round match than I expected. She played really, really great tennis. For sure, I am happy that she is back,” said Swiatek. “Nowadays in women’s draw you can play Grand Slam champions early in the tournament. It is pretty tricky because you know these players are really experienced. They also achieved many great things. So they have a bigger kind of belief,” she added.

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