Iga Swiatek's winning streak survived a scare on Monday at the French Open. The World No.1 dropped her first set in more than a month against China's Zheng Qinwen, but rallied for a 6-7(5), 6-0, 6-2 victory inside Court Philippe-Chatrier to extend her unbeaten run to 32 consecutive matches.
Swiatek last lost a set on April 23, when she was stretched the distance by Liudmila Samsonova in the semifinals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. She was pushed hard by the 19-year-old Zheng in an opening set that lasted a staggering 82 minutes: The teenager saved five set points, and rallied from 5-2 deficits in both the set and the ensuing tiebreak.
Turning point: But Zheng's body betrayed her in the middle set; after losing the first three games, she took a medical timeout and emerged with her right upper leg wrapped, strapping she wore through the start of the third set. Afterwards, Zheng also revealed to reporters that she was dealing with stomach trouble that further inhibited her.
"I got really pained stomach and I try my best, but it's just, in the second and third set, I couldn't, I didn't have power to scream one, "Come on," even and it was really tough," she said.
"I want to fight, I really, really wants to fight, but I just don't have power and it was really tough. I couldn't show my tennis today in the second and third set, even in the first set, I'm really not happy with my performance.
"The leg was, it was also tough. That compared to the stomach was easy ... If I don't talk about today, I'm happy with my performance all this run. To play against the No. 1 in the world, I feel really I enjoy on the court. If I don't have my stomach, I think I could enjoy more, like to run better and to hit more harder, to give more effort on court.
"It's pity that I couldn't give that what I want to give today. I just want, the next time I play against her, I have perfect shape and go for the next fight."
Swiatek in fact won eight consecutive games from a set behind, and also navigated Zheng's last stand in the third; she saved two break points which would've seen the World No.74 level at 2-2.
After the 2 hour, 45-minute win, Swiatek will next face 11th-seeded American Jessica Pegula; Pegula rallied for a three-set win over Irina-Camelia Begu, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, to reach the last eight in Paris for the first time.
Pegula makes it three Americans among quarterfinalists
To reach her second Grand Slam quarterfinal of the season, and third in her career, Pegula dug deep. A quarterfinalist in back-to-back years at the Australian Open in 2021 and 2022, Pegula's best prior result in Paris was a third round showing last year. She didn't lose a set in her first three rounds to break new ground in 2022, but dropped serve twice against Begu to fall behind.
She trailed by a break for much of the first set, but after losing back-to-back, she never trailed again en route to securing the 2 hour, 8-minute win. Pegula broke Begu's serve in the fourth game of the second and third sets to take leads she never relinquished.
What it means: Pegula had previously never won a set against Begu. The Romanian won their first two meetings, including at the WTA 250 in Melbourne to start this season.
She's one of three U.S. players to reach the quarterfinals, as Sloane Stephens and Coco Gauff will play in the last eight in the bottom half.
Pegula was the 16th win in Swiatek's unbeaten run. The pair played in the semifinals in Miami, and that match was won by Swiatek, 6-2, 7-5.