Favourite Swiatek faces Barty challenge in Roland Garros defence

  • 8 months   ago
Favourite Swiatek faces Barty challenge in Roland Garros defence
Iga Swiatek has been marked as the favourite to add a second French Open trophy to her cabinet but the teenager's title defence is likely to face a formidable challenge from world number one Ash Barty.
The Pole set Roland Garros' red clay on fire when she became the youngest woman to win the title since Monica Seles in 1992 and the first to do so without dropping a set since Justine Henin in 2007, losing just 28 games during the fortnight.
Her preparations for this year's claycourt major has been ideal as she captured the WTA 1000 title in Rome this month - thrashing former No. 1 Karolina Pliskova 6-0 6-0 in the final - and has now won two of the three biggest events on clay.
"The way she plays, very much a claycourt player with power. Even though she's only 19-years-old, she still is the favourite," Eurosport pundit Mats Wilander told Reuters.
"That's a new situation for us. In tennis, men or women, we haven't had that for a long, long time where a teenager after they won the first one is still the favourite to win the second one, even though she's only 19. So that's very exciting."
Swiatek's last defeat on clay came in the WTA 1000 event in Madrid against Australian Barty, who elected not to defend her 2019 French Open title last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Barty showed her grit and guile in Madrid to take down Swiatek, who will turn 20 on Monday, in straight sets before falling to hard-hitting Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka in the final.
The 25-year-old Barty pulled out from the quarter-finals in Rome with a muscle strain in her serving arm this month but remains the bookmakers' second favourite for Paris and a second Grand Slam title.
Source: Reuters