French Open: Iga Swiatek aiming for third title, Karolina Muchova out to spoil the party

Iga Swiatek French Open

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 8, 2023 Iga Swiatek of Poland celebrates victory in the semi-final against Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

PARIS – Top seed Iga Swiatek will bid to win his third French Open title in four years on Saturday and join an exclusive club of three-time champions including Serena Williams and Monica Seles.

But the 22-year-old Polish, who faced an unexpected hurdle in the final against unseeded Czech Karolina Muchova, defied injury and the odds to claim her first Grand Slam final spot. hers.

Swiatek is the favorite, having unlocked the secrets of the Paris clay courts with a modern game that includes attacking play, superb moves as well as undefeated ball perception and prediction. less than anyone.

She has cemented her status as the world’s top tennis player, as well as lifting the US Open title last year.

With the ability to win even under extreme pressure, Swiatek has few real opponents in women’s sport at the moment.

She’s not a muscular athlete like Williams, but what she lacks in raw strength is more than made up for in pure sportsmanship, with her game earning the nickname ‘factory factory’. Iga’s bread maker, thanks to her ability to dominate matches and win sets her opponent didn’t get. on the scoreboard.

On Saturday, however, she faces a different puzzle than the ones she’s used to solving on tour week after week.

Manyova, 26, whose career has been marred by injury, stunned the tennis world by defeating world number two Aryna Sabalenka in three sets after saving a point in Wednesday’s semi-final. Year.

comprehensive game

That’s where the world really sees what her game is all about.

It’s not the fundamental strength-based thing that has long dominated the sport.

“Honestly, I really like her game,” Swiatek said of her opponent, who beat Pole in a single encounter in 2019.

“I really respect her, and she’s a player who can do anything. She has great touches. She can also speed up the game.”

“She plays with the freedom of her movements and has a great technique. So I’ve been watching her matches and I feel like I know her game pretty well.”

Karolina Manyova

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 8, 2023 Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic celebrates her semi-final victory over Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

Manyova doesn’t like being pushed back, and there’s certainly no one-way game.

Against Sabalenka, she used her superb one-handed backhand against her opponent’s immense power on forehands.

She also had sunk shots to force her into the net, where she outperformed the Belarusian, demonstrating the most natural volley catch in the women’s game.

“I think I have it in everything in life, I don’t really want to be like anyone else,” says Manyova.

Her career record against the top three ranked players speaks for itself, having won all five encounters and lost none.

Whether she can replicate that form against Swiatek remains to be seen but for the lucky fans on Court Philippe Chatrier, the stage is set for a clash of styles and for what. could turn out to be the most exciting match of the entire tournament.


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