Swiatek extends win streak record despite second round Wimbledon scare
Iga Swiatek had to battle past Dutch lucky loser Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove in three tight sets to secure her place in the third round at Wimbledon.
The world number one struggled to play her best tennis throughout the encounter on Thursday afternoon but eventually came through 6-4 4-6 6-3 in two hours and four minutes on No. 1 Court.
The Pole has now won 37 matches in a row, extending her own record for the longest unbeaten streak by a women’s player in the 21st century.
Pattinama Kerkhove was the second successive qualifier that Swiatek had faced at this year’s Championships, after the world number one dispatched Jana Fett for the loss of just three games in the first round.
Ranked number 138 in the world, Pattinama Kerkhove was more than able to stay with Swiatek during the opening exchanges of the match, breaking the Pole in her second service game.
Swiatek appeared reluctant to stay behind in the score line for long however, immediately increasing her aggression from the back of the court.
A double fault from the Dutchwoman levelled the set at 2-2.
Surprisingly, at this point, uncharacteristic errors began to fly from Swiatek’s racquet, and a tumble on the grass at break point down allowed the Dutchwoman to lead the set for the second time.
But it was her serve which proved Pattinama Kerkhove’s undoing yet againcas she led the opener 4-3, committing two double faults to gift the break back to the world number one.
And there were no mistakes from Swiatek for the rest of the set, as she wrapped up the opener 6-4 in just over 40 minutes.
The opening stages of the second set were far less topsy-turvy than the first, with both women holding serve through the opening six games.
But, when Swiatek was serving at 3-3, a favourable net cord for Pattinama Kerkhove on break point handed the Dutch player a decisive advantage.
Pattinama Kerkhove did not waste the opportunity, holding serve twice more to claim the second set.
This was the first set that the world number one had lost since the fourth round of Roland Garros.
It would have been easy for Swiatek to panic at the start of the third set but she steadied herself well, breaking Pattinama Kerkhove’s serve in the fourth game to lead 3-1.
The world number did not let up in the closing stages of the match, claiming victory after Pattinama Kerkhove hit a forehand wide.
“I’m just trying to play the best tennis possible on grass,” Swiatek said after the match. “I’m pretty happy that I’m going to have a next chance to play here.”
The Pole will now face France’s Alize Cornet for a place in the fourth round.
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