Iga SWIATEK survives Naomi OSAKA in epic comeback to advance at French Open

Wednesday, 29 May 2024 at 20:09
Iga Swiatek (No. 1) survived Naomi Osaka (No. 134) 7-6, 1-6, 7-5 to advance to the third round of the French Open. The three-time champion was on the brink of an early exit, had to come back in the third set, and saved a match point before securing her 16th consecutive win at Roland Garros.
The Pole arrived after a straightforward debut against Leolia Jeanjean (No. 176), winning 6-1, 6-2, while the Japanese player had struggled in the first round against Lucia Bronzetti (No. 67).

Osaka's incredible performance not enough

Swiatek entered the match as the overwhelming favourite, given her 15 consecutive wins at the French Open and her recent form on clay, including titles at the Rome Open and Madrid Open. However, she was taken aback by Osaka's high level of play, which only improved as the match progressed.
The first break came in the third game in favour of Swiatek, who quickly took the lead. The world No. 1 was up 4-2 when Osaka began her comeback, winning three consecutive games and even having a set point when Swiatek was serving at 4-5. But the Pole survived to keep the set level. The high tension led to a tie-break where Osaka's efforts were in vain, as Swiatek gave her no chances and took the set 7-6(1).
Osaka did not falter and had an almost perfect second set. The Japanese player adapted to Swiatek's pace and became more aggressive (10 winners and 2 unforced errors), while the Pole played her most erratic moments with just three winners and eight unforced errors.
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Naomi Osaka and Iga Swiatek at the 2022 Miami Open final
It took Osaka only 25 minutes to win the set 6-1, including three breaks. This was the first time Swiatek had lost a set 6-1 at Roland Garros since 2019. The Pole was unsettled by Osaka's power, which made an heroic triumph for the Queen of Clay seem increasingly likely.
The third set started tensely for both sides, but Osaka played better on crucial points. The two-time Australian Open champion saved eight break points and took advantage of a single opportunity to lead 3-0. Swiatek had won only one of the previous ten games but attempted a comeback in the second part of the set, winning some service games.
The crowd began to chant 'Naomi,' showing support for the Japanese player as the victory seemed closer. Osaka was up 5-2, had the serve to close the match, and squandered a match point at 5-4. Swiatek mentally turned the match around and equalized at 5-5.
The Queen of Clay secured the decisive break in the 11th game after a double fault from Osaka, and then, serving, she showed her class to claim her 16th consecutive win at Roland Garros 7-6(1), 1-6, 7-5. In the third round, she will face the winner of the match between Marie Bouzkova (No. 42) and Jana Fett (No. 135).

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