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Iga Świątek wins women’s French Open with thrilling victory over Karolína Muchová

<i>Clive Brunskill/Getty Images</i><br/>Iga Świątek won her second successive French Open title.
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Iga Świątek won her second successive French Open title.

By Issy Ronald, CNN

(CNN) — Iga Świątek won her third French Open in four years with a 6-2 5-7 6-4 victory against the unseeded Karolína Muchová in the women’s final on Saturday.

For much of the match, it seemed as if the world No.1 would dominate in the same fashion as she had done to win her other three grand slam titles. After all, Świątek had never lost a set in a grand slam final and she began by displaying all the power and consistency that has made her such a force on clay ever since she won her first French Open title as a 19-year-old in 2020.

A set up, and with a 3-0 lead in the second set, Świątek was cruising to victory but Muchová began finding her rhythm, making shots that had previously flown wide or collapsed into the net, and seemingly breaking the Pole at will.

After Świątek somehow lost the second set, the match lost any semblance of shape in the third, as break followed break and both players scrabbled for that decisive moment that could carry them to a title at Roland Garros.

And eventually it was Świątek who confirmed her star credentials once again, holding her serve under pressure and defending a break point to take a 5-4 lead in the final set before breaking Muchová in the next game to win her second consecutive French Open title, collapsing to the ground in celebration.

“I was really struck with your variety on court and I really hope we’re going to have many more finals,” Świątek told Muchová afterwards after an emotional trophy presentation.

“I wouldn’t be here without my team,” she added. “I know we won this tournament, it’s not easy being on tour for a couple of weeks without breaks. Thank you to my family as well, so many people who came from Poland, I really feel the love so thank you … I really love being here, basically it’s my favorite place on tour.”

It had been a remarkable tournament for Muchova too, even before her part in the extraordinary denouement, as she made her first appearance in a grand slam final, just a year after she was told by some doctors that her tennis career might have been over due to the severity of her injuries.

She had already shown her tenacity at this tournament, recovering from 2-5 down and facing match point against world No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka in the semifinal before she won five games in a row to stun the Belarusian and reach her debut major final.

“Thank you very much. This is incredible,” she said tearfully afterwards while the crowd gave her a standing ovation. “This was so close, yet so far, that happens when you play one of the best. I want to thank everyone behind the curtains as well, the people who help us in lockers, physios, ball kids. And the last one to my team … when I look at those people I actually feel like I’m the winner so thank you.”

At first, Świątek’s power kept Muchová pinned behind the baseline as she yielded to several unforced errors under the pressure.

But the Czech player fought her way into the match after a slow start, showing glimpses of the athleticism and exemplary shot selection that has propelled her to the final; even forcing a break-back point, though Świątek eventually held after a series of deuces to open up a 4-1 lead.

By then the damage had already been done and Świątek wrapped up the set shortly afterwards.

Initially, it was a similar pattern in the second set with Świątek taking an early lead, Muchova coming close but not quite able to win the most decisive points until, finally, she broke Świątek and backed it up with a hold.

Suddenly, it was 3-3, Muchová had won three consecutive games, momentum seemed to be shifting and the pressure told when Muchová broke Świątek at the next opportunity to take a 5-4 lead in the second set, setting up an opportunity to serve for a decider.

Although Świątek quashed that opportunity, Muchová engineered another one and won her third set point to take the game to an unlikely third set that tilted one way and then the other before Świątek finished the match off and won her fourth grand slam title, becoming only the third ever female player to win her first four major finals.

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