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Roland-Garros: Iga Swiatek begins the defense of his title with a victory on the occasion of his 20th birthday | Tennis News


Swiatek celebrated her 20th birthday by launching her title defense at Roland Garros with a 6-0 7-5 victory over her best friend Kaja Juvan; the eighth seed now faces Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson in the second round

Last update: 05/31/21 4:23 PM

Iga Swiatek aims to become the first woman since Justin Henin in 2007 to defend the Roland Garros title

Defending champion Iga Swiatek celebrated her 20th birthday by launching her campaign at Roland Garros with straight-set success against Kaja Juvan at Roland Garros.

Swiatek enjoyed perfect preparation ahead of his title defense with a victory at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome a fortnight ago, producing a devastating tennis display to double the bagel Karolina Pliskova 6-0 6-0 in only 46 minutes.

The Polish looked set to inflict a similar fate on her best friend Juvan on a sunny Philippe Chatrier court – heading for the unanswered first set in 23 minutes.

This extended Swiatek’s winning streak to 20 straight clay court matches, but his Slovenian opponent rallied impressively, opening his account with a hold for love early in the second set.

The defending champion appeared to be drawing close to an unmistakable victory after taking a 3-1 lead in the second, but after falling straight back, Juvan saved two break points – shooting in her first ace and producing a glorious winner of the cross lapel at level three each.

The pair traded grabs until Swiatek survived a major scare at 5-5, with Juvan unable to capitalize on two break points in an extended serve game, which gave the eighth seed the momentum necessary to seal its progress.

Juvan led 40-0 as she struggled to force a tie-break, but the Pole produced a well-constructed run of points to create an opportunity for victory.

The Slovenian fought valiantly to save three match points, but Swiatek was not denied, concluding a 6-0 7-5 win on her fourth match point to set up a second round clash against Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson , who recovered from 7-6 and 5-2 adrift to defeat Shelby Rogers.

Swiatek became an overnight sensation after fourth-seed Sofia Kenin won the title in October – becoming the first Polish player to win a Grand Slam singles title and the lowest-ranked woman to lift the Suzanne-Lenglen cup in Paris.

The Polish celebrated her birthday by collecting a bouquet of flowers before being serenaded on the court

The Polish celebrated her birthday by collecting a bouquet of flowers before being serenaded on the court

She has spoken of her desire to incorporate psychology into her game ahead of her defense at Roland Garros, and she was certainly forced to show resilience in the playoffs against Juvan.

“In the second set it was really tough,” the 20-year-old told reporters. “[Juvan] used every chance she basically had.

“She didn’t give me any birthday present. I’m really happy that I was able to earn these important points and take it further step by step.”

Bianca Andreescu injured her stomach during the Strasbourg International tournament just before the start of Roland-Garros

Bianca Andreescu injured her stomach during the Strasbourg International tournament just before the start of Roland-Garros

Sixth seed Bianca Andreescu has become the biggest casualty in the women’s first round so far, losing an epic battle with Tamara Zidansek.

Canada’s Andreescu has been held back by repeated injury issues since winning her first Grand Slam title at the US Open in 2019.

She won the first set against Slovenian Zidansek but ultimately lost 6-7 (1-7) 7-6 (7-2) 9-7 after three hours and 20 minutes.

Former semi-finalists Kiki Bertens and Alizé Cornet were both sentenced to outings in the first round at Roland Garros.

Bertens’ struggles after her Achilles operation continued as she succumbed in three sets to that of Slovenia Polona Hercog, while Cornet was beaten 6-4 6-4 by his compatriot Harmony tanning – a wildcard ranked 149th in the world.

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