Iga Swiatek has played six sets so far at Roland Garros and won them all -- four were by the pristine score of 6-0. She joins Mary Pierce (1994) and Martina Navratilova (1985) as the only women to produce four shutouts in the first three rounds at Roland Garros. The most recent opponent was Wang Xinyu, 6-0, 6-0 on Saturday.
For those of you counting, that’s four career victories in which Swiatek hasn’t yielded a single game and the 14th 6-0 set this year. She won 50 of 67 points in a scant 52 minutes. It was her surest performance of the clay-court season and sets her up nicely for the second week of a tournament she’s won two of the past three years.
Going forward, when things inevitably get tougher, could that be a problem?
“Sometimes all your head can remember is the score, and I always want to kind of be ready for every situation,” Swiatek told reporters. “So I don’t feel like it’s a problem for me, because I had many matches like that. I just try to kind of take as many positive things like confidence and feeling that I can play my tennis.”
The World No.1 faces Lesia Tsurenko in the Round of 16 on Monday with the knowledge she’s dropped a total of only eight games and won an amazing 19 in a row. That is the clinical definition of momentum.
How does this start stack up with the first week of Swiatek’s two previous title runs? Quite well, actually, considering her 36-8 advantage in games.
Swiatek was 36-13 through three matches in 2020. She’d go on to win 14 of 14 sets and produce a W-L count of 84-28 in games. Last year, the numbers were 14 of 15 and 84-33.
If the seeds had held, Swiatek would have faced Barbora Krejcikova in the fourth round -- with Swiatek’s No.1 ranking on the line. But Tsurenko upset the No.13 seed (who had beaten Swiatek the past two times), removing a huge hurdle. With both Swiatek and No.2 Aryna Sabalenka safely through, Swiatek now needs to reach at least the semifinals to have any chance of retaining the No.1 ranking past her current 62 weeks.
Here’s the breakdown for Monday’s four Round of 16 matches from the top half of the draw:
No.1 Iga Swiatek vs. Lesia Tsurenko
Tsurenko knocked off former major champion Bianca Andreescu 6-1, 6-1 in the third round. The 34-year-old from Ukraine is into her second fourth round at Roland Garros.
Swiatek has won their two previous matches, both on red clay -- last year at Roland Garros in the first round and just last month in Rome, 6-2, 6-0, in the third round. Tsurenko is 0-8 against No.1-ranked players.
Although Swiatek came into Paris scuffling by her standards, losing the Madrid final to Sabalenka and retiring from a quarterfinal in Rome with Elena Rybakina with a thigh injury, she seems to have found an equilibrium.
“Just the fact that I know I keep feeling better and better every day and that’s kind of what I wanted to achieve in this tournament,” Swiatek said. “I’m glad that I kind of feel the rhythm a little bit better on every match. I'm just happy that I was disciplined till the end.
With a 24-2 record, Swiatek and Chris Evert are tied for the second-best match-win percentage at Roland Garros in the Open Era, behind only Margaret Court (95.2 percent).
No.6 Coco Gauff vs. Anna Karolina Schmiedlova
Gauff dropped the first set in a meeting of the last two teenagers in the women’s draw but came back to defeat 16-year-old Mirra Andreeva 6-7 (5) 6-1, 6-1.
Still only 19, Gauff had 19 unforced errors in the first set -- and only seven the rest of the match. A finalist here last year, Gauff won the only previous match between them, last year in Madrid 6-0, 6-2.
Gauff has won her past 36 matches against players outside the Top 50, which is worth noting because Schmiedlova is at No.100.
Schmiedlova, who has reached the second week of a Slam for the first time in her career, was a 6-1, 6-3 winner over qualifier Kayla Day. She’s looking to become only the third woman from Slovakia to reach the quarterfinals in Paris. She’s 1-8 against Top 10 players.
No.7 Ons Jabeur vs. Bernarda Pera
Jabeur cooled off the hottest player in Paris, coming back to defeat qualifier Olga Danilovic 4-6, 6-4, 6-2. The 22-year-old Serb had won 21 straight sets.
Thus, Jabeur matched her best result at Roland Garros. It remains the only one of the four Grand Slams where she hasn’t advanced to the quarterfinals. Overall, Jabeur has won 16 of her past 19 Grand Slam singles matches
Pera, a 6-4, 7-6 (2) winner over Elisabetta Cocciaretto, is comfortable on clay. Her two career titles came on that surface last year in Budapest and Hamburg. This is the 28-year-old American’s first journey into the second week of a major.
The series is 1-all.
No.14 Beatriz Haddad Maia vs. Sara Sorribes Tormo
Sorribes Tormo received a walkover into the Round of 16, when No.4 seed Elena Rybakina withdrew, citing a viral illness. The 26-year-old Spaniard is ranked No.133 and recently has been playing ITF and WTA 125 events in Spain and Portugal.
Haddad Maia came back to defeat No.23 Ekaterina Alexandrova 5-7, 6-4, 7-5 and has reached the second week of a major for the first time. She is the first Brazilian woman to reach the fourth round at Roland Garros since Patricia Medrado in 1979.
This series is 2-all, but the last two went to Sorribes Tormo.