Swiatek: Swiatek whisks past Wimbledon champion into semis...

Sabalenka: Andreeva reels in Sabalenka for semis spot...
Published Time: 05.06.2024 - 06:16:36 Modified Time: 05.06.2024 - 06:16:36

The Pole picked up where she left off on Court Philippe-Chatrier, on the heels of her 6-0, 6-0 trouncing of Anastasia Potapova in the fourth round – a match in which she conceded just 10 points. Swiatek

Iga Swiatek prefers to shirk any talk of bagels and breadsticks out of respect for vanquished opponents.

Her 19th straight win at Roland-Garros and 17th in succession on clay this season was delivered with the type of ruthless aggression and efficiency she has managed since her last-ditch survival against Naomi Osaka in the second round.

“Honestly, I think everything worked. I feel like I've been serving better than in previous rounds, so it gave me an extra boost in confidence,” Swiatek said. “Overall, I felt like I'm playing pretty heavy. I could just play my game and go with my tactics and not really overthink anything.”

The Pole picked up where she left off on Court Philippe-Chatrier, on the heels of her 6-0, 6-0 trouncing of Anastasia Potapova in the fourth round – a match in which she conceded just 10 points.

The 23-year-old had only fallen twice to a left-hander – to Arantxa Rus in Rome in 2020 and Beatriz Haddad-Maia in Toronto in 2022 – so it would have required something special from the fifth seed, who had never prevailed in their three prior meetings.

“Today it was pretty straightforward,” Swaitek said. “I'm happy that I kept my focus because sometimes I felt like the game was really intense and sometimes the intensity went down a little bit, so I wanted to really play my game no matter what was coming back from Marketa. I felt like I was in a zone today.”

An ominous tone was set when Swiatek struck seven unanswered winners in the first three games.

It is no secret that the best strategy against the Pole is to take time away from her, bullying her with pace and depth. This is not a style that comes as naturally to Vondrousova, a player who relies heavily on her lefty spin, crafty angles and drop shots.

Before her career-defining run to the Wimbledon title last year, the Czech almost went the distance in Paris five years ago.

In 2019, as an unseeded 19-year-old, she cut a swath through the draw to reach her maiden Slam final where she was overawed in a one-sided contest against Ash Barty.

A year later, she succumbed at the opening hurdle to an unseeded 20-year-old, a 54th-ranked Pole who went all the way to her first Grand Slam title.

That woman is now a dominant world No.1 with four major trophies in the bag and a fearsome reputation on clay. This was fittingly reiterated when she snared her third straight love set of the tournament after 28 minutes.

Vondrousova was never going to slice and dice her way through this one and knew she had to take a few more risks if she was to make a fist of it.

It required an audacious bid to up the ante just to get her name on the board for 1-all in the second set.

A roar went up when Vondrousova held to snap the Pole’s streak of 20 consecutive games across three matches in Paris, but Swiatek’s focus and intensity was unwavering.

She completed the result on the back of 25 winners, including 21 off her forehand and having claimed 23 of 26 first-serve points.

Vondrousova could only praise the top seed’s performance as she now shifts focus to her Wimbledon title defence.

“She's, I feel like, way better than anyone else on clay, and especially here. Yeah, it's very tough,” she said.

“I feel like on the court you have nothing to… maybe offer or she's just too strong here. Yeah, I didn't feel bad, but overall in the rallies, I felt like she's just better… She's very confident here, you know, especially on that court… I feel like she just pushes you every rally. I feel like you just go crazy every point.”

It set a rematch with third seed Coco Gauff, whom she beat in the 2022 final and the quarter-finals last year and a rival over which Swiatek held an imposing 10-1 record.

“[It will be] the same as before any other match. You don't want to change your routines,” she said. “It's good to just keep going and not think this match as something huge, but just another match to not put too much baggage on your shoulders.