Defending champion Iga Swiatek serene as questions linger over rivals-Sports activities Information , Novi Reporter
Swiatek, who turns 20 subsequent week, was the lowest-ranked girl, then 54th on the earth, to win the French Open, shifted from its conventional Could-June slot final yr because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Iga Swiatek heads into the French Open making an attempt to grow to be the primary participant since Serena Williams at Wimbledon in 2016 to efficiently defend a girls’s Grand Slam singles title, with accidents and poor clay kind clouding the hopes of a number of of her chief rivals.
Following her victory in Rome, culminating in a ruthless 46-minute takedown of Karolina Pliskova, Poland’s first Grand Slam singles champion returns to Roland Garros simply seven months on with a far better weight of expectation.
Swiatek, who turns 20 subsequent week, was the lowest-ranked girl, then 54th on the earth, to win the French Open, shifted from its conventional Could-June slot final yr because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Like Jelena Ostapenko in 2017, it was her first title at tour stage. Not like the Latvian, who has struggled to breed her finest tennis repeatedly, Swiatek seems higher outfitted to remain on the prime.
She entered the highest 10 for the primary time final week, however has to face shut pal Kaja Juvan of Slovenia in her opener in Paris.
“We’re mates, however on court docket everyone is equal. I am truly good at forgetting that I am taking part in in opposition to my finest pal,” Swiatek stated Friday.
In idea, this French Open might be the possibility for Naomi Osaka to step up on clay.
Nonetheless, all seven of her profession titles, together with her 4 majors, have come on laborious surfaces.
The Japanese star was knocked out early in each Madrid and Rome. Her finest efficiency at Roland Garros in 4 makes an attempt is the third spherical.
Her preparations have been overshadowed by her determination to boycott all press conferences on the event, fearing their results on her psychological well being.
The 23-year-old’s gesture was lambasted as a “phenomenal mistake” by French tennis chief Gilles Moretton.
Osaka begins in opposition to Romania’s 63rd-ranked Patricia Maria Tig.
Ashleigh Barty vacated her Roland Garros title after skipping a lot of the 2020 season citing well being and journey dangers.
The world primary has gained three titles this yr and reached the Madrid remaining, however an arm damage on the Italian Open compelled her out of the quarter-finals and solid doubt over her health in Paris.
“I feel coming again to the location right here at Roland Garros is clearly fairly particular, fairly cool,” stated Barty who tackles Bernarda Pera of the USA within the first spherical.
“A number of it I additionally do not keep in mind and feels prefer it was such a very long time in the past. It is actually a clear slate for us this week.”
Serena eyes elusive twenty fourth Slam
As for Serena Williams, now 39, she has gained simply one among three matches on clay this month having returned after practically three months away following the Australian Open.
The American stays on 23 Grand Slam titles, one behind Margaret Courtroom’s all-time document, and has not gone past the final 16 in Paris since shedding the 2016 remaining to Garbine Muguruza.
Her coach Patrick Mouratoglou admitted it was unlikely Williams would win her first main because the 2017 Australian Open in Paris.
Williams, a three-time French Open winner, faces Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania in her first spherical tie.
Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus claimed her largest title so far on the Madrid Open. She’s going to look to construct on her run to the final 16 in Melbourne realizing that 9 of the previous 15 girls’s majors have yielded first-time winners.
Bianca Andreescu, the 2019 US Open champion, might be one to look at if she hits kind however she has struggled with accidents.
On Tuesday, she pulled out of the Strasbourg clay-court event after profitable her round-of-16 match, saying “I do not wish to take any dangers” forward of Roland Garros.
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