19 May 2024, 11:01

Swiatek 'staying humble' for French Open after third Rome title

ROME, May 19, 2024 (bss/AFP) - Iga Swiatek refused to take victory at the
French Open for granted despite romping to a third Rome title when sweeping
aside Aryna Sabalenka 6-2, 6-3 in Saturday's final.

World number one Swiatek will be red-hot favourite to successfully defend her
Roland Garros crown afer comfortably prevailing on the clay against second-
ranked Sabalenka.

In front of a packed centre court crowd Swiatek became the first woman since
Serena Williams in 2013 to win on the clay surface at Madrid and Rome in the
same season.

She can join Williams in a European capital city hat-trick if she wins her
fourth French Open title, and third in a row, with the clay-court Grand Slam
starting in Paris on May 26.

"Obviously I am confident. I feel like I'm playing great tennis but that
doesn't change the fact that I just want to stay humble," Swiatek told

"Grand Slams are different. There's a different pressure on the court and off
the court. Of course I love to come to Paris and be there. It a great place
for me to be and I really enjoy my time there.

"But these are a hard seven matches that you need to win so I don't take
anything for granted."

Swiatek won her 12th successive match on clay by besting Belarusian Sabalenka
as she did in the recent Madrid final.

The Pole took her winning record over Sabalenka to 8-3 in another hugely
impressive display from what has been an almost flawless tournament from the
four-time Grand Slam winner, who didn't drop a single set on her way to
another championship victory.

Saturday's match was less dramatic than Madrid's three-set thriller as
Sabalenka, who has won the two most recent Australian Opens, gave herself too
much to do.

Swiatek took the opening set in just 36 minutes in a clinical display of
tennis against Sabalenka, who has said repeatedly that Rome is her dream
tournament to win.

Going into Saturday's final Swiatek had won 97 percent of her matches in
which she went one set ahead since the start of 2022 and Sabalenka didn't
help her cause by wasting seven break points over two games in the second

After Swiatek broke Sabalenka's serve in game seven it was only a matter of
time before she closed out the match and championship.

"I would say the first set I didn't play well at all. I wasn't, I don't know,
feeling my game well," Sabalenka told reporters.

"In the second set I just tried to stay a little bit more aggressive... I
just tried to put her a little bit under pressure.

"I had couple of opportunities to break her serve. Probably if I would take
that opportunity, the match would go differently. I didn't use it, so it is
how it is."

On Sunday Alexander Zverev bids to win his second Rome title when he faces
Nicolas Jarry in the men's final.

Zverev is in his 11th Masters final, equalling Boris Becker's record for the
most by a German since the series began in 1990.

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