Alize Cornet compared herself to a fine French wine as she left Iga Swiatek's Wimbledon dream in tatters.

Frenchwoman Cornet, who eight years ago produced a Wimbledon sensation when beating Serena Williams, delivered another show-stopping result when she won 6-4 6-2 against top seed and world number one Swiatek.

It happened on the tournament's middle Saturday and on Court One, just as the victory over Williams in 2014 had.

Swiatek had reeled off 37 successive wins, landing six titles in the process, including a second French Open crown. However, she has appeared far from comfortable on the grass in London, and it was clear she would be ripe for such an upset if her performance level from the first two rounds did not improve.

Cornet, who at the age of 32 is competing in a record-tying 62nd consecutive grand slam tournament, will face Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic on Monday for a place in the quarter-finals.

In an on-court interview, Cornet said of her win: "It reminds me of the time I beat Serena on the same court eight years ago. I think this court is a lucky charm for me.

"I want to say I'm a huge fan of Iga. She is just so talented, and she's such an amazing player and such a nice ambassador of women's tennis, so I'm very flattered that I beat her today.

"I think this kind of match is what I'm living for and practising for every day. It really drives me, and I knew I could do it. Somehow I had this belief, even through she had 37 wins in a row.

"It was like, if there is a moment you can beat her it's now, on grass. She feels a little less comfortable than on other surfaces, so I was just believing very hard, very focused, and I have the best team by my side and the best crowd also.

"So I guess I like the upsets. It's a really nice feeling right now.

"I'm like a good wine. In France, a good wine always ages well. It's unreal, I'm playing one of the best seasons of my career. I feel great on the court. I'm having so much fun. Eight years later after my first qualification into the second week I can see I'm still there, I'm still so motivated, and I still have the fire in me."

Swiatek slumped from a 2-0 lead in the second set, dropping six successive games as the match slipped away.

The beaten Pole said: "I know I didn't play good tennis. I was pretty confused about my tactics. When I was practising I didn’t feel in the best shape. So I was aware this could happen.

"Usually when I'm coming back, I have some kind of a plan and I know what to change.

"Here I didn't know what to change. I was confused. On a grass court everything happens so quickly. I didn't tank it, but I just didn't know what to do."

Iga Swiatek's 37-match winning streak came to an end on Wimbledon's Court One as wily Frenchwoman Alize Cornet pulled off a sensational third-round victory.

Top seed and world number one Swiatek had not lost since February, when she was beaten by Jelena Ostapenko in Dubai, reeling off six successive tournament wins, including her second French Open title. It was the longest winning streak in women's singles in the 21st century, and now it is over.

The 21-year-old Polish player had not looked comfortable on grass in her opening two rounds at Wimbledon, and she was outsmarted on Saturday by the experienced Cornet, losing 6-4 6-2 in an hour and 32 minutes.

At the age of 32, Cornet is playing a record-tying 62nd consecutive grand slam, matching Ai Sugiyama's record. She is also enjoying her best year at the majors, reaching a slam quarter-final for the first time in Australia before getting to the third round at Roland Garros.

Crucially, Cornet already had a famous Wimbledon scalp behind her coming into this match. Eight years ago, on the equivalent first Saturday of the championships and on the same court, Cornet defeated Serena Williams.

On this occasion, Cornet swept to a swift double break against the former Wimbledon girls' champion, opening a 3-0 lead. Swiatek got back into the opening set by recovering one break, but she could not draw level.

Swiatek then had a chance to break in the second game of the second set, and a 2-0 lead was hers when Cornet went long with a forehand. Yet the lead was immediately squandered, a dazzling stop volley from Cornet saving game point before a looping backhand winner brought the set back onto serve.

From there, Cornet pulled away, Swiatek's belief fading as the match raced away from her. At her 15th Wimbledon, Cornet was able to celebrate another show-stopping moment.

Data slam: Alize in wonderland

This was a 24th career win for Cornet against a player ranked inside the top 10, and a fourth against a world number one – the previous three all came against Serena Williams, all in 2014 (including one by retirement). The world number 37, who reached a career-high ranking of 11th in 2009, was facing Swiatek for the first time and now goes on to tackle Ajla Tomljanovic for a place in the last eight.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Cornet – 16/7
Swiatek – 21/33

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Cornet – 1/2
Swiatek – 3/1

BREAK POINTS WON
Cornet – 5/6
Swiatek – 2/6

Iva Swiatek says it is "pretty special" to have matched Martina Hingis' run of 37 victories in a row after coming through a tough test with Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove.

The world number one was taken to three sets by lucky loser Kerkhove in Thursday's second-round tie at Wimbledon but came out on top 6-4 4-6 6-3 on Court No. 1.

Swiatek overtook Monica Seles' career-best 36-match winning streak with her latest triumph and can surpass Hingis with victory over Alize Cornet in the next round.

That would see the Pole hold the record for the most successive victories on the WTA Tour since 1990, something she would take great pride in.

"I think another match to this number [37] is pretty special for me, but you know, when I'm out there, I'm not really thinking about that," she said in her on-court interview.

"I'm just trying to play the best tennis possible on grass, and the result is going to come. I don't have full influence in it, but I'm happy that [the winning streak] is 37.

"Now I'm going to do my best to get even more."

 

Swiatek still has some way to go to match the all-time winning run, with the record held by Martina Navratilova (74 in a row during 1984).

The two-time French Open winner was far from her best against world number 138 Kerkhove in a match lasting more than two hours that saw her broken three times.

She dropped a set for just the seventh time during her incredible run, which stretches back to defeat against Jelena Ostapenko in mid-February.

In doing so, Kerkhove became the lowest-ranked player to win a set against the number one female in the world since Carla Suarez Navarro – also ranked 138 – against Ash Barty at Wimbledon last year.

"She played a really great match, and it seemed that she really understood how to play today," Swiatek added. 

"But I'm really happy that I could sometimes just fight back and be the last one to play that ball in. I'm pretty happy that I'm going to have another chance to play here."

Swiatek has now won 46 matches this year in total. In the entirety of the 2021 season, only Anett Kontaveit and Ons Jabeur (both 48) won more matches.

Up next is former world number 11 Cornet, who is playing her 62nd consecutive grand slam tournament, which ties Ai Sugiyama for the Open Era record.

Iga Swiatek was made to work hard for her place in the third round at Wimbledon after being taken to three sets by Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove in Thursday's entertaining encounter.

The top seed had won her previous 36 matches, dropping just six sets in the process, but she was taken the distance by world number 138 Kerkhove on Court No. 1.

Swiatek ultimately proved too strong and prevailed 6-4 4-6 6-3 in a little over two hours to set up a meeting with Alize Cornet, although she was broken three times in total.

In just the third meeting between a lucky loser and top-seeded female in an Open Era grand slam, Kerkhove gave Swiatek plenty to think about throughout.

The Dutchwoman broke her opponent's serve in the third and fifth games of the opener, either side of failing to herself hold, but Swiatek then temporarily found some rhythm.

She broke Kerkhove in the eighth game and again in the 10th to take the set, although the world's top-ranked player once again allowed errors to creep in.

Despite double-faulting eight times across the first two sets, Kerkhove levelled up the match by earning the only break of the second set in the seventh game.

That paved the way for a decider, which saw both players hold in two lengthy opening games, but Swiatek visibly started to grow in confidence and broke Kerkhove in the fourth.

Kerkhove produced an impressive backhand winner en route to taking the third set to a ninth game, yet Swiatek was still serving for the win and made no mistake in doing so.

 

Data slam: Swiatek streak continues

Swiatek was expected to come through this second-round clash with ease, but that proved far from the case as Kerkhove became the lowest-ranked player to win a set against the number one female in the world since Carla Suarez Navarro – also ranked 138 – against Ash Barty at Wimbledon last year.

The reigning French Open winner dug deep to claim a 37th win in a row, however, and she remains on course to become the first female since Angelique Kerber in 2016 to win two grand slam titles in the same season.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Swiatek – 31/31
Kerkhove – 15/22

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Swiatek – 5/1
Kerkhove – 2/8

BREAK POINTS WON
Swiatek – 4/7
Kerkhove – 3/5

Iga Swiatek is through to the second round at Wimbledon thanks to a straight-sets defeat of Jana Fett on Tuesday.

While the top seed did not have it all her own way in the second set, she ultimately had more than enough to see off Fett 6-0 6-3.

All early signs pointed to a comfortable win for Swiatek as world number 252 Fett looked nervous, committing 14 unforced errors to her opponent's four in the first set.

As such, Swiatek's first-set bagel arrived with the Pole barely breaking a sweat, but her level dropped in the second and allowed Fett a foothold.

Fett broke to love in the first game of the second set, and although Swiatek instantly hit back, the Croatian then broke again before managing to consolidate and go 3-1 up.

But she passed up five break points as Swiatek began to build her way back, and the world number one was soon a break to the good, with Fett's 23 unforced errors, which included nine double faults, proving her downfall.

A sloppy return from Fett gave Swiatek match point, and the former put her next shot straight into the net as the favourite became the first female player since Martina Hingis in 1997 to win 36 successive matches.

Data slam: Swiatek bagels again

Remarkably, Swiatek's first-set bagel was her 17th of the season. This century, only Serena Williams (25 in 2013) and Kim Clijsters (18 in 2003) have managed more in a single year.

While Fett made life a little trickier in the second, the nature of Swiatek's first-set performance almost made victory a formality and few would bet against her repeating her bagel feat in the second round.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Swiatek – 10/15
Fett – 7/23

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Swiatek – 0/3
Fett – 1/9

BREAK POINTS WON
Swiatek – 6/10
Fett – 2/8

When Wimbledon ended last year, there were two great takeaways from the tournament: Novak Djokovic would soon be pulling away in the grand slam title race and Ash Barty was beginning a new era of dominance.

Both seemed to be knock-ins, and yet neither has come to pass. Djokovic missed out on a calendar Grand Slam in New York before being banished from Australia, and despite drawing level with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer on 20 grand slams with his Centre Court triumph, he now finds himself two adrift of the Spaniard again.

Barty, meanwhile, has left her own party. The then world number one stunned the tennis world by retiring in March, having added the Australian Open she so craved to her trophy cabinet.

Djokovic and Iga Swiatek head into Wimbledon, which begins on Monday, as the top seeds.

Stats Perform has used Opta facts to consider what the men's and women's singles might deliver.

 

KING ROGER'S REIGN IS OVER, BUT DJOKOVIC AND NADAL KEEP GOING STRONG

There will come a time when the Wimbledon favourite is not one of the 'Big Three'. That time is not now.

Djokovic is the man most likely, as he targets his fourth straight Wimbledon title and seventh overall; since 2011, when he beat Nadal in the final, the Serbian has only been absent from the trophy match three times (in 2012, 2016 and 2017).

His winning run of 21 matches at Wimbledon is the fifth-longest in the men's singles. Bjorn Borg holds the record (41 between 1976 and 1981).

The last player other than Djokovic, Nadal, Federer and Andy Murray to win the Wimbledon men's title was Lleyton Hewitt in 2002. Federer is absent this year and may have played his last Wimbledon.

Nadal has won Wimbledon twice, in 2008 and 2010. He won the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open in 2010, the only season of his career when he has won three slams. This year, at the age of 36, he has the Australian and French Open trophies already locked away, potentially halfway to a calendar Grand Slam, last achieved in men's singles in 1969 by Rod Laver.

Should Nadal pull off another major coup, it would make him only the second man in the Open Era (from 1968) to win the season's first three singles slams, after Laver in 1969 and Djokovic last year.

Can the rest hope to compete?

What of Murray? Well, only Federer (19), Sampras (10), Laver and Jimmy Connors (both nine) have won more ATP titles on grass than the Scot in the Open Era. If he recovers from an abdominal strain, he has a shot at reaching the second week. He will of course have the full backing of the Wimbledon crowd.

Last year's runner-up Matteo Berrettini is fancied more than Nadal by many, having won Stuttgart and Queen's Club titles in the build-up.

There has not been an American men's singles champion since 2000, and although the United States has six players seeded, more than any other nation, it seems a safe enough assumption we will be saying a similar thing again in 12 months' time.

Third seed Casper Ruud has never won a singles match at Wimbledon, while fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas has not had a win since reaching the fourth round in 2018. Daniil Medvedev, the world number one, cannot compete at The All England Club after their contentious decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

IF SERENA CAN'T CHALLENGE SWIATEK, WHO CAN?

From the jaws of retirement, Serena Williams is back. Silence from the 40-year-old about her intentions had become almost deafening, and yet here she is, back at Wimbledon on a wildcard, hoping to rekindle the old magic.

Because she has pushed back against the doubters for over two decades now, you have to take this seriously. Her haul of 23 grand slams is one short of Margaret Court's all-time record and Williams would dearly love to at least match it.

Three years ago, Williams became the oldest player to reach Wimbledon's women's singles final when she lost to Simona Halep. Six years ago, she was the oldest champion when she beat Angelique Kerber.

Only four women in the draw this year besides Williams have been champion before: Petra Kvitova (in 2011 and 2014), Garbine Muguruza (in 2017), Kerber (in 2018) and Halep (in 2019).

World number one Iga Swiatek starts as favourite. Junior Wimbledon champion four years ago, she has scooped two women's French Open titles since then and is on a 35-match winning streak.

After triumphing at Roland Garros in early June, Swiatek will hope to become the first woman since Kerber in 2016 (Australian Open and US Open) to win two singles slams in the same season.

The only competitive warm-up for Williams came in two doubles matches at Eastbourne, having not played since sustaining a hamstring injury at Wimbledon last year. The seven-time champion might consider it a challenge that there has never been an unseeded Wimbledon women's singles finalist during the Open Era.

The women's top two seeds have not met in the final since Serena faced her sister Venus in the 2002 title match, so don't hold your breath for a Swiatek versus Anett Kontaveit showpiece on July 9.

Could Gauff be best of the rest?

Coco Gauff made a breakthrough with her run to the French Open final. Although she was blown away by Swiatek, for the 18-year-old American it was another mark of progress. Gauff reached the fourth round in Wimbledon in 2019 (lost to Halep) and 2021 (lost to Kerber).

Fitness is likely to be the key factor in how US Open champion Emma Raducanu fares at her home grand slam, given her injury problems. Raducanu reached the fourth round on a wildcard last year and the 19-year-old will attempt to become the first British woman to reach that stage in back-to-back seasons since Jo Durie (1984, 1985).

Ons Jabeur, meanwhile, should not be discounted. The world number three reached the quarter-finals at SW19 last year and heads to Wimbledon having won on grass at the Berlin Open, albeit Belinda Bencic had retired hurt in the final.

The likes of Gauff, Raducanu and 21-year-old Swiatek will attempt to become the youngest woman to lift the trophy since 17-year-old Maria Sharapova triumphed in 2004.

A first-round exit for Swiatek would leave the event wide open, but don't count on it. In the Open Era, only three times has the top-seeded woman lost in round one: Steffi Graf in 1994 and Martina Hingis in 1999 and 2001.

Six-time champion Novak Djokovic will take centre stage on day one at Wimbledon along with home hopes Emma Raducanu and Andy Murray.

The All England Club has announced the schedule of play for Monday, when the 2022 tournament will get under way.

As is tradition for the defending champion, Djokovic, who defeated Matteo Berrettini in last year's men's singles final, will take part in the first match on Centre Court when he plays against Kwon Soon-woo.

Djokovic will be bidding for a fourth Wimbledon title in succession following triumphs in 2018, 2019 and 2021, after the cancellation of the 2020 championships.

US Open champion Raducanu has also been selected to appear at Centre Court on the opening day.

Raducanu will take on Alison Van Uytvanck hoping to kick off a successful campaign in front of her home crowd, having burst onto the scene at Wimbledon last year with a shock run to the fourth round.

And another Briton, two-time winner Andy Murray, will be involved in the third and final match on the prestigious court when he faces James Duckworth of Australia.

Murray will be hoping to better last year's third-round berth at SW19 after impressively reaching the Stuttgart Open final this month, losing to Berrettini after notable wins over Stefanos Tsitsipas and Nick Kyrgios.

Ons Jabeur, Angelique Kerber and Carlos Alcaraz are the big names selected for action on Court One on Monday.

And it has been confirmed that, in the absence of retired champion Ash Barty, women's number one seed Iga Swiatek will open the action on Centre Court on Tuesday when she plays Jana Fett. Swiatek said she felt "very privileged" to be opening the proceedings on day two.

Rafael Nadal, who has won the opening two men's grand slams this year, is also expected to begin his campaign on day two, as is seven-time women’s champion Serena Williams on her return from injury.

Serena Williams' presence at Wimbledon has left world number one Iga Swiatek "pretty overwhelmed".

Williams is making her long-awaited return to action at the All England Club, as the 40-year-old takes another shot at matching Margaret Court's record of 24 grand slam victories.

The American has played only two competitive matches – both alongside Ons Jabeur in the doubles at the Eastbourne International – since she sustained a hamstring tear at last year's Wimbledon, but is back on a wildcard.

Three years ago, Williams became the oldest player to reach Wimbledon's women's singles final when she lost to Simona Halep. Six years ago, she was the oldest champion when she beat Angelique Kerber, although it seems a long shot for her to be challenging for honours this time around.

That is in part due to the remarkable form of top seed Swiatek, who heads to SW19 on the back of a 35-match winning streak that she is aiming to extend.

The Pole was not born when Williams made her Wimbledon debut in 1998, but she was the junior champion at the All England Club in 2018 and has since won the French Open twice. She is aiming to become the first woman since Kerber in 2016 to win two singles slams in the same season.

Yet Swiatek remains in awe of Williams.

"I saw her yesterday, I was pretty overwhelmed," said Swiatek in a news conference on Saturday.

"I didn't know how to react. I wanted to meet her. I saw that she had so many people around her. I don't know her team. It was pretty weird.

"But just seeing her around is great because she's such a legend, there's nobody that has done so much in tennis.

"I'm pretty sure that she's going to be in good shape because she has so much experience coming back from breaks or just playing in grand slams. I think she can use it."

Swiatek has never progressed past the fourth round of the singles at Wimbledon and will be making her first appearance of the season on grass when she takes on Jana Fett on Tuesday.

"Honestly I still feel like I need to figure out grass," she said. "Last year for sure, it was that kind of tournament where I didn't know what to expect.

"Then match by match I realised maybe I can do more and more.

"I didn't have a lot of time to prepare. But I'm just trying to stay open-minded and kind of take positives from the situation and realise that I can play without any expectations."

Serena Williams will begin her Wimbledon challenge against French player Harmony Tan, who will be making her main-draw debut.

For 40-year-old American Williams, a seven-time Wimbledon singles champion, there will be relief at avoiding a seed in the first round.

That was a possibility given that Williams is in the draw on a wildcard, having not played singles since suffering an ankle injury in her Wimbledon opener 12 months ago.

Instead, the 23-time grand slam winner will face the world number 113, who lost in the first round of the recent French Open, perhaps as soft a landing as Williams could have had.

Wimbledon begins on Monday at the All England Club, with women's defending champion Ash Barty not involved after announcing a shock retirement in March.

Williams has returned to action this week at the Eastbourne International, winning through two rounds in doubles alongside Ons Jabeur, before the duo pulled out due to a knee worry for Jabeur.

Awaiting the winner of Williams versus Tan will be American Christina McHale or Spanish 32nd seed Sara Sorribes Tormo, while last year's runner-up Karolina Pliskova is a potential third-round obstacle.

Women's top seed Iga Swiatek starts against Croatian qualifier Jana Fett, while Britain's US Open champion Emma Raducanu was drawn to face the experienced Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck, a player who knocked out the then-defending champion Garbine Muguruza at Wimbledon four years ago.

Tunisian third seed Jabeur was paired with Swedish qualifier Mirjam Bjorklund, Pliskova faces fellow Czech Tereza Martincova, and American Coco Gauff, fresh from a first grand slam final in Paris, drew Romanian Elena-Gabriela Ruse.

Estonia's Anett Kontaveit, who may struggle to live up to her billing as the second seed having never previously gone past round three, plays American Bernarda Pera first up.

Among former champions, Angelique Kerber tackles Kristina Mladenovic in her opener, while Simona Halep was handed a tough assignment against Karolina Muchova.

Of all the players in the draw this year, Muchova is the woman with the highest winning percentage in Wimbledon main draw matches.

The Czech has an 80 per cent success record, winning eight matches and losing twice after reaching the quarter-finals in her both previous appearances, losing to Elina Svitolina in 2019 and Kerber last season.

Defending men's champion Novak Djokovic and women's world number one Iga Swiatek head the seedings for Wimbledon, which starts on Monday.

The championships issued its lists of seeds on Tuesday, with Russian and Belarusian players absent from the line-up after they were excluded from the tournament because of the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

It means Russia's men's world number one Daniil Medvedev is absent, while Germany's second-ranked Alexander Zverev also misses out, in his case because of an ankle injury.

With Wimbledon sticking to the ATP and WTA rankings, that means world number three Djokovic automatically moves up to the top seeding as he chases a seventh title at the All England Club, and a 21st grand slam win of his career.

Two-time Wimbledon winner Rafael Nadal is the second seed, with the Spaniard having already won the Australian Open and French Open titles this year to nudge two majors ahead of Djokovic and Roger Federer on the all-time men's list. Federer, still battling his way back from knee surgery, will not play Wimbledon this year and turns 41 in August.

Norway's Casper Ruud, fresh from reaching the French Open final, is the third seed, with Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas fourth. Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz is fifth, while Great Britain's Cameron Norrie, ninth on the list, receives his first top-10 seeding at Wimbledon.

Norrie is bumped up from his world ranking of number 12, given world number eight Andrey Rublev, another Russian, is prevented from competing.

The women's reigning champion Ash Barty has retired since capturing the title last July, so her successor as the dominant player on the WTA Tour, Swiatek, assumes the top seeding.

Swiatek has reeled off 35 consecutive match wins, dominating on hardcourts and clay, but she has less of a grass pedigree, albeit the 21-year-old Pole is a former junior Wimbledon champion.

Last year saw Swiatek lose in the fourth round to Tunisian Ons Jabeur, who is the third seed this time. Estonia's Anett Kontaveit is the second seed, with Wimbledon no longer making any allowances for grass-court prowess, as it used to when devising its seeding lists.

Britain's Emma Raducanu, like Norrie, is a Wimbledon top-10 seed for the first time. The shock US Open champion is seeded 10th, one ahead of the American teenager Coco Gauff.

The format means there will be dangerous unseeded players in the draw, notably Nick Kyrgios and two-time champion Andy Murray in the men's singles.

Serena Williams, the seven-time women's champion, is entered on a wildcard and is also unseeded. Williams, 40, has not played singles since abandoning her first-round match at Wimbledon last year due to injury, but entered this week's doubles event at Eastbourne, partnering Jabeur.


Men's top 10: 1. Novak Djokovic, 2. Rafael Nadal, 3. Casper Ruud, 4. Stefanos Tsitsipas, 5. Carlos Alcaraz, 6. Felix Auger-Aliassime, 7. Hubert Hurkacz, 8. Matteo Berrettini, 9. Cameron Norrie, 10. Jannik Sinner

Women's top 10: 1. Iga Swiatek, 2. Anett Kontaveit, 3. Ons Jabeur, 4. Paula Badosa, 5. Maria Sakkari, 6. Karolina Pliskova, 7. Danielle Collins, 8. Jessica Pegula, 9. Garbine Muguruza, 10. Emma Raducanu

World number one Iga Swiatek has withdrawn from the bett1open next week due to a shoulder injury.

Swiatek, who won her second grand slam title at the French Open last weekend, was due to start her grass-court season in Berlin a fortnight before Wimbledon gets under way.

But the all-conquering Pole pulled out of the WTA 500 tournament on Friday, revealing she will take time to rest ahead of the third major of the year at SW19.

Swiatek tweeted: "Due to a recurrent discomfort I am feeling in my shoulder, unfortunately I need to withdraw from the bett1open in Berlin.

"I'm sorry I will not be able to play there. I will focus on recovery and rest in order to be ready for Wimbledon."

Swiatek beat American teenager Coco Gauff 6-1 6-3 to regain the title at Roland Garros last Saturday.

That took the 21-year-old's winning run to a staggering 35 matches, one more than Serena Williams' best streak back in 2013. 

Venus Williams is the only other woman since the start of 2000 to have reeled off 35 consecutive victories, while Swiatek and Serena Williams are the only women in the same period to have won six titles in the first six months of a year.

Swiatek was beaten by Ons Jabeur in the fourth round at Wimbledon last year but is a strong favourite to lift the Venus Rosewater Dish for the first time next month.

Iga Swiatek said it was "special" to have produced a longer winning run than Serena Williams and ominously vowed she can take her game to another level after triumphing at the French Open.

The world number one outclassed Coco Gauff on Court Philippe-Chatrier to win her second grand slam title, beating the teenager 6-1 6-3.

Swiatek's victory was her 35th in a row, one more than Williams' best winning streak from 2013, and the Pole is the first player to prevail in nine WTA Tour finals in a row.

Venus Williams is the only other woman since the start of 2000 to have reeled off 35 consecutive victories, while Swiatek and Serena Williams are the only women in the same period to have won six titles in the first six months of a year.

Swiatek expressed her pride at having gone one better than superstar Serena.

She said: "It may seem pretty weird, but having that 35th win and kind of doing something more than Serena did, it's something special.

"Because I always wanted to have some kind of a record. In tennis it's pretty hard after Serena's career. So that really hit me.

"Obviously winning a grand slam too, but this one was pretty special because I felt like I've done something that nobody has ever done, and maybe it's gonna be even more. This one was special."

The two-time French Open champion added: "Before the match, before the tournament, I was like, 'Okay, is it going to be even possible to beat Serena's result?'.

"I realised that I would have to be in a final. I was, like, 'Ah, we will see how the first rounds are going to go'. I didn't even think about that before. But right now I feel like the streak is more important. I kind of confirmed my good shape."

Swiatek has been on another level to her rivals this year but says there is room for improvement.

"For sure," she said. "There is always something to improve, honestly. I'm still not a complete player. Especially, I feel like even on the net I could be more solid.

"This is something that Coco actually has, because I think she started working on that much, much earlier than me. There are many things. I'm not going to tell you, because it may sound like I'm concerned about some stuff."

Coco Gauff responded to a punishing defeat by Iga Swiatek in the French Open final by declaring: "Now I know that's what I have to do."

Blessed with wisdom beyond her years, the 18-year-old Gauff has made powerful statements on police brutality, LGBTQ rights and gun violence in her young life, and at the same time her impressive tennis game has continued to evolve.

On Saturday she contested the first grand slam final of her career and was reduced to tears after a 6-1 6-3 pummelling by Swiatek, who needed just an hour and eight minutes to cross the winning line.

Gauff was still feeling raw when she spoke in a post-match news conference, but she could yet leave Paris as a major champion, given she and fellow American Jessica Pegula face France's Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic in Sunday's doubles final.

At 18 years and 84 days, Gauff was the youngest women's grand slam singles finalist since Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon in 2004, but the 21-year-old Swiatek is a step ahead of her for now.

It has nonetheless been a fortnight of progress from Gauff, who said: "I don't know what my happiest moment has been. Hopefully it will be tomorrow if we can win in doubles. From the singles, obviously winning is the last hurdle, but reaching the final is almost as difficult because you are pretty close."

Mother Candi and father Corey brought along Gauff's younger brothers Codey and Cameron for the biggest moment of Coco's career to date. The clan have been playing cards together in the evening, and Gauff said she was winning in that contest.

The Gauffs watched on as Coco wept in her chair on court while Swiatek celebrated victory in the stands with family and her support team, the champion also sharing a hug with Poland and Bayern Munich footballer Robert Lewandowski.

Gauff reflected on the moment the tears came, saying: "I try really hard not to cry on the court. I feel happy really and sad, so it's like, I don't know how to handle it.

"I hate myself for crying. I have to get drug-tested and I told the lady, 'Do I look like I've been crying for so long?'.

"I don't know whether to smile or cry. Emotionally it's just a lot for me to handle."

But amid the sadness there was defiance, as Gauff said: "Tomorrow I'm going to wake up and be really proud of myself." 

World number one Swiatek extended her remarkable winning sequences to six consecutive titles and 35 match wins, and Gauff said her conqueror, like the now-retired Ash Barty before her, was setting a standard that the rest would have to strive to match.

"Now that I have seen the level, this level of number one and 35 matches, I know that's what I have to do," Gauff said. "I'm sure I'm going to play her in another final, and hopefully it's a different result."

Gauff, whose forehand was erratic, added: "In the match it probably looked like I was freaking out, but really it was just Iga was too good. I wasn't freaking out."

After the doubles final, Gauff will start to think about the grass season and Wimbledon.

She welcomed Swiatek sending a message of support to the people of invasion-hit Ukraine during her on-court victory speech.

"I think using sports as a platform is important," Gauff said. "For me, it's about influencing people and influencing the leaders that are in office and leaders around the world maybe to hear that message."

And as she left Roland Garros for the night, Gauff had wrestled back control of her emotions, having helped her family get over their own sorrow.

"After the match, my little brother was crying and I felt so bad, because I was trying to just tell him, 'It's just a tennis match'," Gauff said.

"I'm pretty happy and outgoing if people know me personally. For them to see me so upset, I think that's what hurt them the most. Tomorrow, or even tonight, we're going to play cards again and we are going to laugh and we are going to be fine."

Behind all the charm that Iga Swiatek brings to tennis, the relatable personality and the culture vulture sensibilities, there lies a ruthless champion.

Swiatek is now a two-time French Open winner, and goodness knows how many more grand slams the 21-year-old might add in the coming years.

The women's tour is not yet officially in a post-Williams era, but if Serena and Venus never play again, the game is surely in safe hands.

A 6-1 6-3 dismantling of Coco Gauff meant Saturday's showpiece was no classic Roland Garros final. Great champions don't care much about classics, though. It's all about getting the W, and stacking those up. Classics are great, but only if you win them.

Nobody in the 2000s has hit on a hotter streak than the one Swiatek is presently living through. This was a sixth consecutive title in 2022 for Swiatek and a 35th match win in succession. Venus Williams had a six-title, 35-win run in 2000, and Justine Henin reeled off six successive tournament triumphs from 2007 into 2008.

The Pole is the youngest winner of two or more grand slams since Maria Sharapova, at 19, added the 2006 US Open title to the Wimbledon crown she sensationally secured as a 17-year-old.

Swiatek is among elite company there, just as she was when she fist-bumped her hero, Rafael Nadal, before stepping onto court.

How far can Swiatek extend this run? Well, Martina Navratilova won 74 successive matches in 1984, a record for the WTA Tour.

As Swiatek collected the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen, she might have been aware that Lenglen, long before the WTA was formed in 1973, embarked on an even more staggering undefeated run.

The Frenchwoman is said to have strung together a 181-match winning streak in the 1920s. Some sources put it at 179, but at this stage we're splitting hairs.

When Gauff said at the post-match presentation that she hoped to play Swiatek in more finals, a beaming smile passed across the champion's face, but it faded just a little when Gauff said she hoped to pull off a win in future.

Swiatek, 21, overwhelmed first-time slam finalist Gauff, 18, on this occasion, but they might have many more big-stage matches to come. Swiatek has no interest in losing any such clash.

Based on their combined ages, this was billed as the 'youngest' Roland Garros final since 19-year-old Iva Majoli stunned 16-year-old favourite Martina Hingis in the 1997 showpiece.

The only grand slam final in the 21st century to feature two players with a lower combined age than the Swiatek-Gauff pairing was last year's US Open trophy match between Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez.

Ahead of this match, American great Pam Shriver spoke on the Tennis Podcast about facing the greats of the game in the 1970s and 1980s, saying: "I played through these amazing streaks of Chris Evert, Navratilova, Graf, Seles... but literally the quality of Swiatek's game right now is equal to the greatest of all time during their streaks. She's the real deal."

This match was won by Swiatek identifying a weakness – the Gauff forehand – and targeting it, constantly. There was no escape for Gauff, who would have recognised the shot was letting her down.

By the end of the third game, Gauff had already committed 10 unforced errors and was a double break down. Welcome to your first grand slam final, Coco.

When Gauff slapped a rare forehand winner, she let out a cry of satisfaction, but the Florida resident then lashed the next ball she faced into the tramlines.

It was a 6-3 6-1 trouncing in Swiatek's favour when these two met in Miami in March, and the Paris crowd were longing for more of a contest this time.

When Gauff broke serve and led 2-0 in the second set, Swiatek's supremacy was briefly in doubt. That didn't last long.

Swiatek swept through her next service game and soon had two break-back points when Gauff flung in a third double fault of the match. Then a forehand – of course it was the forehand – went just wide from Gauff and the set was back on serve.

What would the response be from Gauff? She was broken in a flash, and the contest was effectively finished.

How did the match end? With Gauff flinging a forehand service return long. Yes, this was a final with a theme.

Swiatek saw the disappointment in Gauff's face as she approached the net, and the embrace was a sympathetic one, followed by a consoling pat on the American's back.

To be clear, that means nothing for their future rivalry. Swiatek is cold-blooded until the final point has been played out.

The AC/DC and Led Zeppelin fan, who has been reading The Three Musketeers while in Paris and visited the Palace of Versailles last week, has this clinical flip side to her character.

She lost her first tour final to Polona Hercog as a 17-year-old in 2019, but since that defeat in Lugano has been formidable in trophy matches, winning nine now and only three times being extended as far as 6-4 in any set.

This is why there might be many more slams to come, and perhaps Wimbledon glory awaits in the coming weeks.

Swiatek won the French Open as the world number 54 and a virtual unknown two years ago and has shown she can handle the pressure of being the top seed and hot favourite this time.

Evert, speaking on Eurosport, was drawn into fantastical talk about Swiatek perhaps one day rivalling Nadal for Roland Garros titles. On Sunday, the Spaniard will go after his 14th such triumph.

"She has to get past my seven, doesn't she, before we talk about Rafa?" Evert said, shrewdly. "She can look and dream about winning 10 [grand slams], and it's very possible that she will, but I don't think specifically she's thinking, 'I can win this tournament 14 times'."

That will surely be beyond Swiatek, but Evert's haul, the most by a woman, may not be.

Iga Swiatek was congratulated by Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski after she successfully regained her French Open crown.

The world number one was embraced by her Polish compatriot after a comprehensive 6-1 6-3 win over Coco Gauff at Roland Garros.

Swiatek and Lewandowski are among the pre-eminent Polish sports stars of this generation, and shared in their delight at the former's triumph.

Victory for the 21-year-old on Court Philippe-Chatrier extends her winning streak to 35 matches and saw her reclaim the title she won for the first time in 2020.

Lewandowski meanwhile is in Paris between games with Poland in the UEFA Nations League.

The veteran forward played in his country's 2-1 friendly win over Wales on Wednesday and is expected to feature against Belgium next week.

Page 1 of 8
© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.