Inga Svitek ruled the tennis world for 68 minutes.
On Saturday, her bout, Athletic Game defeated teenage Coco Goff 6-1, 6-3, and Sweetek emerged as the women’s singles champion at the 2022 French Open.
He took the first four games of the match – and never looked back.
This tied Sweetek’s second major title and her 35th consecutive victory – the longest WTA title of the millennium – with Venus Williams.
He has not lost a single match since February 16.
“To keep that kind of streak, I need everything,” she told NBC’s Maria Taylor on Saturday. “I have to be there mentally, [and also] To be physically ready because I had a lot of long matches during this time. Tennis-wise, I needed to be more aggressive and I finally figured out how to do it. It’s all coming together. “
The 21-year-old, who turned 21 earlier this week, has won five titles before the French Open this year, four at the 1000 level. Ranking 1 at the beginning of April and now almost double the points compared to anyone else.
“What you’ve done on the tour over the last few months has been amazing, and you deserve it,” said the tearful Guff during the on-court trophy presentation. “Hopefully we can play each other in the final and one day I can beat you.”
When Sweetek arrived in Paris two years ago, she was a virtual stranger. She entered the tournament at No. 54, but was stunned on the field and walked away as the champion.
Two years later, Sweetech left Paris as the dominant force in women’s tennis, and one ready for future greatness. The WTA has found an enchanting superstar talent that can consistently fight for major championships on various surfaces – and few have been able to do so since Serena Williams took the lead.
“She’s hit on a different level than all of us right now,” said Jessica Pegula, who lost to Sweetech in the semifinals. “Yeah, a little scary.”
Fear is not an uncommon emotion for Sweettech’s opponents these days.
Before the game starts in Paris, four-time major champion Naomi Osaka told reporters that she has a dream of a draw and will play Sweetek in the first round.
“I was scared because I was thinking [who’s] “The worst potential player to play when I’m unseeded,” Osaka said. “It just came to my mind. Thank God it didn’t happen.”
To summarize Osaka’s nightmare: “To win this championship, any competitor had to stay at the bottom of the draw and away from the Iga,” said 21-time major double champion and ESPN analyst Pam Shriver.
Former US Open semifinalist Lesia Surenko pulled out the shortest straw. She faced Sweetek in the opening round and won 6-2, 6-0 on the court in just 54 minutes. The rest of Sweetek’s opponents did not perform very well.
Sweetek reached the final in the fourth round, losing just one set to 19-year-old Quinwen Zheng. She lost just eight games in total to Pegula and Daria Kasatkina in the semifinals and semifinals. Both matches took less than 90 minutes.
Pegula said before his match, “I think his athleticism is off the charts. “I think his defense is really, really, really good, like Ashleigh Barty, where they have offense and defense, they can get into the corner, get points, play really good defense and then you can take the racket, sometimes you get it. .And out of your hands. And then I think she’s been more aggressive this year, she’s been more aggressive when she needs to. “
– roland-garros (landrolandgarros) June 4, 2022
During Saturday’s match, the 18-year-old Goff was undoubtedly nervous in her first big final and had to struggle from the start. Sweetek immediately showed his opponent’s unforced mistakes and nerve attacks and his diversity and almost flawless movements. In the opening game of the second set, Goff defeated Svitek and then won the service game to take a 2-0 lead, while Svitek never gave up or let himself be distracted. He won the next five games.
“I was most impressed by the ease of most of his matches in this winning series,” said Shriver. “Igala had to face some stress in Paris, but he overcame the pressure on the scoreboard with a great game.”
Sweetek had moderate success in his first year on the 2019 tour, including a fourth-round participation at Roland Garros and his first WTA final at Lugano. She was slowly climbing up. But at the 2020 French Open, she showed the world how good she can be as an unseeded player.
As of this year, Sweetek has been on the field – with no rivals winning more than five games – and defeating top seed Simona Halep 6-1, 6-2 in the fourth round in just over an hour. She showed more in the final – becoming the first Polish player in history to win a Grand Slam singles title, defeating then-Australian Open champion Sophia Canin 6-4, 6-1.
Her performance in Paris was so shocking that John McEnroe, who was commenting on the match for NBC, enthusiastically announced on the broadcast: “It’s hard to imagine the way she’s playing now, she’ll be half a dozen.” Major will not win. Other veterans of the game quickly echoed his enthusiasm for his future.
But Svetike, a sports student, knew this would not be easy. She was the first major champion in the women’s draw for the fifth time in a row at Roland Garros, and the other women saw success but struggled to move on.
After the biggest win of her life, the then 19-year-old made no promises of more championships like McEnroe. But she knew exactly what to do, and she was clear about her hopes for the future.
“I know my game isn’t fully developed,” Sweetek told reporters. “Other than that, I think the biggest change for me is going to be sustainability. I think women’s tennis is struggling with this. That’s why we have so many new Grand Slam winners because we’re not as consistent as Rafa. [Nadal]Roger [Federer] And Novak [Djokovic],
“That is why my goal is to be consistent. This is going to be really difficult. “
She didn’t achieve it right away – although she was the only woman to reach the second week in all four major companies in 2021 – but this season, Sweetech is a consistent definition in the textbook. She made it to the semi-finals of the Australian Open and has not been perfect since.
And as she topped the world rankings, she received amazing help from the then-top-ranked Barty when her retirement was announced in March. Svetek will take the throne.
Four-time major doubles champion and ESPN analyst Renee Stubbs remembers seeing Sweetek in the parking lot before the Miami Open begins, following Barty’s revelation. Stubbs was walking around the facility with Samantha Stosur, with whom she was training, and she could not help accepting the opportunity.
“The new number is 1,” Stubbs said in a congratulatory tone.
Sweetek made a face, as if he was uncomfortable to get attention, or maybe he was surprised.
“But since then he has shown that he is not satisfied with just No. 1,” Stubbs said. “She wanted to prove she was there.”
Sweetech won in Miami. And since then she has been everywhere. Throughout the period, his fans have been fascinated by pump-up music (from Dua Lipa to Led Zeppelin in Paris) and his select tastes in the extensive reading list.
She chose to use the platform to get closer to her heart – pinning the Ukrainian flag on her match cap for most Russian attacks and acknowledging the ongoing struggle in her victory speech on Saturday.
Sweetek emerged with the Suzanne Langlen Cup on Saturday, and many believe it was a prelude to the next decade in professional tennis – and possibly the beginning of the next great rivalry.
“They’re two young, smart tennis players and even better,” Stubbs said. “Hopefully in the next 10 years we will see this final many times and hopefully it will start a little bit of competition. We all know what they did when they reached the finals, they are here to stay. I’m so excited because I love them both. They are special children and they are really good for the future of women’s tennis. “
With the weather turning to grass, Sweetech will now have his eye on them. She has played Wimbledon twice before. She reached the fourth round last year and won the junior championship at the 2018 All England Club. Despite her limited experience on the surface, according to Kaiser Sportsbook, she is already a favorite of champions.
Such heavy expectations can rob other players. But so far Sweettech has shown no signs of that. In fact, she says the pressure has helped her understand how much she can handle.
“I think the sky is the limit for me, so I feel more relaxed,” she said earlier this week. “I think I’ve proven myself.”