Iga Swiatek became Poland's first ever Grand Slam singles champion with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over American Sofia Kenin in the French Open final on Saturday.

It is Swiatek's first ever women's title and she is the youngest women's champion at Roland Garros since Croatia's Iva Majoli in 1997.

The 19-year-old won three straight games to start the match and even though Kenin broke back to level play at 3-3, Swiatek broke serve twice more to take the first set.

Kenin, the reigning Australian Open champion, called a medical timeout for a left leg injury with Swiatek leading 2-1 in the second set and resumed play with a wrap on her left thigh. Swiatek sprinted through four more games to take the trophy after 1 hour, 24 minutes on Court Philippe Chatrier.

The teen from Warsaw showed promise when she won the junior singles at Wimbledon in 2018 along with a French Open junior doubles triumph. And after she claimed the biggest success of her budding career, understandably the emotions took over.

"It is crazy. Two years ago I won junior Grand Slam. Right now I am here. It feels like such a short time. I am just overwhelmed," said Swiatek in an on-court interview after winning the title.

Ranked 54th in the world, Swiatek became the lowest ranked woman ever to lift the Suzanne Lenglen trophy and she did it without dropping a set. The last woman to achieve that sort of run was Belgium's Justine Henin in 2007.

Her list of defeated opponents included top seed Simona Halep in the fourth round, where some of her returns were recorded as being faster than male players like Austria's Dominic Thiem.

Swiatek signaled her intent in Saturday's final by pumping her fist after a confident opening game where she hit aggressive groundstrokes.

However, Swiatek admitted that when she gets nervous in matches her legs feel heavy. That showed when she made a series of errors culminating in a double-fault up 3-2 to hand Kenin a chance to level the match.

Kenin did tie up the score, but her own double-fault at 4-3 offered another break point to Swiatek. A 19-stroke exchange followed and Kenin roared after ending it with a cross-court forehand.

Swiatek was unfazed though and detonated a forehand down the line, with Kenin faltering on the net return to fall behind 5-3 and eventually drop the set with another failed return.

After the pair traded breaks to see Swiatek take a 2-1 lead in the second set, Kenin's left leg was bothering her and she asked for the trainer.

Kenin did not improve after the trainer was called to her chair and Swiatek pounced again with Kenin's confidence fading after hitting the net to trail 4-1 as Swiatek was within touching distance of the title.

A backhand brushed the line for 5-1 and an overhit backhand from Kenin unlocked championship point.

Swiatek, who said her psychologist Daria Abramowicz has been a big help to her triumph at Roland Garros, completed the astonishing climb to the championship with one final forehand and jumped with delight.

Afterwards, Swiatek climbed to the stands to hug her coach and dedicated the victory to Daria as a special birthday present.

"I just want to congratulate Iga on a great tournament and a great match. You played really well. Congrats to you and your team," said Kenin at the trophy presentation.

Swiatek soaked up the atmosphere made by a maximum of 1,000 Chatrier fans, due to coronavirus restrictions, as she saluted them by raising her hands and tapping a light applause.

"I want to thank all the fans in Poland," said Swiatek as she clutched the trophy.

"It's pretty crazy back home. My coach (Piotr Sierzputowski) did a really great job and also Daria. It is Daria's birthday today so I think this is the best present possible."

Among the first to congratulate was Polish President Andrzej Duda.

"Great thanks and congratulations for Iga Swiatek. A historic day for Poland, for Polish sport and for Polish tennis. Bravo!" Duda tweeted.

 

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