Christophe Ena/Associated Press
Iga Swiatek shocked the tennis world Saturday, as the 19-year-old native of Poland beat American Sofia Kenin in straight sets to win the 2020 French Open.
The win marked Swiatek’s first career Grand Slam title and also made her the first Polish player, regardless of gender, to win a Grand Slam singles title.
Few could have seen Swiatek’s victory coming, as she had never before won a WTA singles title and had never advanced past the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament before her performance at Roland Garros.
As seen in the following video, Swiatek left no doubt regarding her win, as she made easy work of Kenin, who won her first career Grand Slam title at the Australian Open earlier this year:
Unseeded players usually face a ton of adversity and have to grind their way through tournaments, but as pointed out by Ben Rothenberg of the New York Times, Swiatek was dominant en route to her first Grand Slam title:
Ben Rothenberg @BenRothenberg
19-y.o. Iga Swiatek wins 2020 French Open with an incredibly dominant run.
Games lost, by round:
R1 vs Vondrousova: 3
R2 vs Hsieh: 5
R3 vs Bouchard: 5
R4 vs Halep: 3
QF vs Trevisan: 4
SF vs Podoroska: 3
F vs Kenin: 5 (6-4, 6-1)
First Polish Slam singles champ ever, and how.
Christopher Clarey of the New York Times put Swiatek’s performance into perspective as well:
Christopher Clarey @christophclarey
Iga Swiatek has won the French Open at age 19 as if she were winning a futures event in rural France.
No set dropped. No drama. Just brilliant, pressure-proof tennis
Beat last year’s finalist Marketa Vondrousova, No. 1 seed Simona Halep & in the final Aussie Open champ Kenin https://t.co/tBUxaSS79S
Now that Swiatek has broken through, the biggest question among tennis fans relates to how she will fare moving forward. Perhaps the French Open was a star-making performance, but it could have just as easily been a one-hit wonder, which happens on occasion in women’s tennis.
With the past four years yielding 11 different Grand Slam champions in tennis, there is no guarantee that Swiatek will be able to return to this level, although her young age suggests she will only continue to get better.
Swiatek entered the French Open as the No. 54 player in the world, but she has already improved on that ranking and likely has her sights set on a top-20 or perhaps even top-10 ranking in 2021.
It isn’t outside the realm of possibility, especially if Swiatek performs well in Grand Slams. Given her dominant French Open win this year and the fact that she has five clay-court ITF tournament wins to her credit, Swiatek may be the odds-on favorite in next year’s French Open.
There has not been a repeat French Open winner in women’s tennis since Justine Henin won three in a row from 2005 to 2007, but provided she remains on her current path, Swiatek has the tools to break that streak.
Swiatek hasn’t advanced past the fourth round at any of the other three Grand Slams, so it is tough to predict what type of progress she will make on that front, but she is just two years removed from winning the girls’ singles title at Wimbledon.
Based on her recent success at All England Tennis Club, Swiatek should be able to orchestrate a deep run at next year’s Wimbledon even if she doesn’t win it.
Swiatek also has two ITF hard-court titles to her credit, and she made it to the fourth round of the Australian Open this year. That means she should be able to perform at least that well at both the Australian Open and U.S. Open next year.
To recap, look for Swiatek to repeat as French Open champion next year, reach at least the quarterfinals of Wimbledon and at least the fourth round of the Australian Open and U.S. Open.
If Swiatek manages to do all that, she will likely establish herself as a top-10 player and perhaps the fastest-rising star in the sport.