Iga Swiatek bids for third Roland Garros crown against ‘great’ Karolina Muchova
Iga Swiatek will compete for her fourth Grand Slam title in Paris, when the 22-year-old takes on the stylish game of Karolina Muchova.
Swiatek beat Beatriz Haddad Maia, 6-2 7-6(7), in a tightly contested semi-final match and the Pole is still yet to drop a set at Roland Garros this year.
In-fact, the No.1 has been so dominant that she has dropped only 23 games throughout the tournament, which averages at less than four per match.
The defending champion spoke of how she has developed since winning her first Roland Garros title back in 2020, “For sure, I feel like I’m a better player. Improvement, I feel like, is everywhere, so I can’t really say (one area). Everywhere — like, tennis-wise, mentally, tactically, physically, just having the experience, everything. So, yeah, my whole life, basically.”
However, if Swiatek is to lift the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen once again she will need to beat the crafty Czech, who ended Aryna Sabalenka’s unbeaten run at major tournaments in 2023.
Muchova beat the Belarusian, 7-6(5) 6(5)-7 7-5, despite being 5-2 down in the deciding set and had to save a match point in the process.
It paints a very different picture to 2022 for the 26-year-old, who left Roland Garros in tears last year after retiring from her her third round match against Amanda Anisimova with injury.
The No.43 added to her incredible statistic of winning all five of her matches against top three ranked players, following her triumph over Sabalenka.
Muchova explained why she believes she is so successful against the top players, but claimed that it does not make her the favourite in the final against the world No.1.
“It’s maybe my game and the fighting spirit and everything together,” explained Muchova. “Today, it was hell of a fight, and I put everything out there. It paid off. That might be, yeah, that might be why.”
She added, “I don’t think I will be the favorite. Yeah, it’s nice. I didn’t really even know about this statistic, if I say like that. It just shows me that I can play against them. I can compete, and obviously the matches are super close.”
After beating Sabalenka, there was a lot of conversation about Muchova’s unorthodox serve and volley game on clay, and it seems that her final opponent enjoys that style of play.
“I really like her game, honestly. I really respect her, and she’s, I feel like, a player who can do anything. She has great touch. She can also speed up the game,” praised Swiatek. “She plays with that kind of, I don’t know, freedom in her movements. And she has a great technique. So I watched her matches and I feel like I know her game pretty well.”
Swiatek will take on Muchova in the final on Court Philippe Chatrier tomorrow at 3pm Parisian time (2pm BST).
Iga Swiatek vs Karolina Muchova head-to-head
While Swiatek is the favourite going into the final against Muchova, it is actually the Czech who claimed victory in their only previous meeting on the WTA tour.
Here is the tale of the tape heading into the showpiece final at Roland Garros:
Roland Garros win-loss record:
Iga Swiatek: 27-2 (93%)
Karolina Muchova: 11-4 (73%)
Route to the final:
First Round – Beat Cristina Bucsa, 6-4 6-0
Second Round – Beat Claire Liu, 6-4 6-0
Third Round – Beat Xinyu Wang, 6-0 6-0
Fourth Round – Beat Lesia Tsurenko, 5-1 (Tsurenko retired)
Quarter-final – Beat Coco Gauff (6), 6-4 6-2
Semi-final – Beat Beatriz Haddad Maia (14), 6-2 7-6(7)
First Round – Beat Maria Sakkari, 7-6(5) 7-5
Second Round – Beat Nadia Podoroska, 6-3 0-6 6-3
Third Round – Beat Irina-Camelia Begu (27), 6-3 6-2
Fourth Round – Beat Elina Avanesyan (LL), 6-4 6-3
Quarter-final – Beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, 7-5 6-2
Semi-final – Beat Aryna Sabalenka (2), 7-6(5) 6(5)-7 7-5
2019 – Muchova beat Swiatek, 4-6 6-1 6-4 (Prague – Clay)
49 – With victory over Lesia Tsurenko, Iga Swiatek has now moved to 49-1 in her career on clay after taking the first set. Swiatek's last such loss on the surface was against Karolina Muchova at Prague in 2019. Frontrunner.#IBI23 | @InteBNLdItalia @WTA @WTA_insider pic.twitter.com/ECsmPKuMIK
— OptaAce (@OptaAce) May 14, 2023
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