World No.1 Iga Swiatek advanced to the Round of 16 at Wimbledon for the second time in her career, defeating 30th-seed Petra Martic 6-2, 7-5 in the third round.
With straight-set wins over Martic, Sara Sorribes Tormo, and Zhu Lin, Swiatek has lost 13 games through the first week at Wimbledon. The four-time major champion is bidding to reach the Wimbledon quarterfinals for the first time.
On Sunday, Swiatek will face No.14 seed Belinda Bencic for a spot in the quarterfinals. The match pits two Wimbledon junior champions against each other. Bencic won the girls' title 10 years ago in 2013. Swiatek won it five years ago in 2018.
The Swiss advanced to the fourth round with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Australian Open semifinalist Magda Linette. Bencic owns a phenomenal 4-3 record against reigning World No.1s, with three wins over Naomi Osaka and one over Serena Williams.
"I'm really up for the challenge," Bencic said. "I'm excited to play her. I think I'm a player that I play well against top players."
Swiatek has won two of the three previous meetings, but their sets have been highly competitive. In January, Swiatek beat the Olympic champion at the United Cup 6-3, 7-6(3). At the 2021 US Open, Bencic came through a 26-point tiebreak in the first set to win 7-6(12), 6-3. This will be their first meeting on grass.
When asked what impressed her most about Swiatek's game, Bencic pointed to the Pole's speed.
"I think it's her movement, absolutely," she said. "I think no one has ever moved like that in the woman's game like her."
Swiatek's win over Martic is her 13th consecutive victory, a streak that began with her title run at Roland Garros last month. Since losing her first set on grass this season to Tatjana Maria at Bad Homburg, Swiatek has now won 12 consecutive sets.
"I do feel more relaxed," Swiatek said. "I think also because I won Roland Garros and I feel like after that, the pressure is a little bit off because I reached my goal kind of for the season. I don't have to think about anything else other than playing."
Swiatek improved to 3-0 against Martic, but this was the most competitive of their three duels. Martic generated more break-point chances in the first set than Swiatek, but the World No.1 was more clinical. Behind 12 winners to eight unforced errors, Swiatek converted all three of her break point chances, while Martic broke just once from four chances.
Swiatek looked poised to close out the straight-forward win but was broken at love as she served at 5-4 in the second set. Martic came within a point of consolidating her break-back at 5-5, 40-0. She thought she served an ace to close the game but a Swiatek challenge showed the ball was long. Swiatek ran off the next five points to break Martic and served out the win after 1 hour and 43 minutes.
Swiatek finished the match with 30 winners to 22 unforced errors. Martic hit 14 winners to 22 unforced errors. Through her first three matches of the tournament, Swiatek has broken her opponents' serve 64% of the time.