Even by the expected levels of unexpected results in the women’s singles draw at Grand Slams these days, French Open 2022 has been incredible so far. Even before the end of the first week, nine out of the top 10 seeds in the draw have been eliminated. While world number one Iga Swiatek cannot stop winning at the moment, the rest of the seeds struggled.
Swiatkek was the only top 10 seed left standing at the French Open on Saturday after racking up her 31st straight win as third seed Paula Badosa and seventh-ranked Aryna Sabalenka bowed in the third round.
Swiatek’s winning streak is the best on tour since Serena Williams’s 34 successive victories in 2013.
Spain’s Badosa, who made the quarter-finals in 2021, retired from her last 32 match through injury when she was trailing Russia’s Veronika Kudermetova 6-3, 2-1. Meanwhile, Sabalenka, the seventh seed, slipped to a 4-6, 6-1, 6-0 defeat to Italy’s Camila Giorgi who is into the fourth round for the first time.
Here are some numbers to the incredible start we have seen to the event:
- 1. Iga Swiatek - into the fourth round
- 2. Barbora Krejcikova – lost in the first round to Diane Parry
- 3. Paula Badosa – lost in the third round to Veronika Kudermetova (retired)
- 4. Maria Sakkari – lost in the second round to Karolina Muchova
- 5. Anett Kontaveit – lost in the first round to Ajla Tomljanovic
- 6. Ons Jabeur – lost in the first round to Magda Linette
- 7. Aryna Sabalenka – lost in the third round to Camila Giorgi
- 8. Karolina Pliskova – lost in the second round to Leolia Jeanjean
- 9. Danielle Collins – lost in the second round to Shelby Rogers
- 10. Garbine Muguruza – lost in the first round to Kaia Kanepi
- 11. Jessica Pegula - into the fourth round
- 12. Emma Raducanu – lost in the second round to Aliaksandra Sasnovich
- 13. Jelena Ostapenko – lost in the second round to Alize Cornet
- 14. Belinda Bencic – lost in the third round to Leylah Fernandez
- 15. Victoria Azarenka – lost in the third round to Jil Teichmann
- 16. Elena Rybakina - lost in the third round to Madison Keys
Swiatek, the 2020 champion, dropped serve three times against 95th-ranked Danka Kovinic of Montenegro before sealing a 6-3, 7-5 victory.
Kovinic recovered from 1-4 down in the second set to lead 5-4 but the Pole steadied with a hold and a break before serving out for victory.
“I wanted to play really aggressively but sometimes I felt I was hitting with too much power and it was hard to control,” said 20-year-old Swiatek.
Swiatek next faces Chinese teenager Zheng Qinwen who made the last 16 on her debut when French veteran Alize Cornet, playing in her 61st consecutive Grand Slam, retired with a leg injury, trailing 6-0, 3-0 after just 44 minutes.
Having stunned 2018 champion Simona Halep in the second round, Zheng becomes only the fourth Chinese woman to make the last 16 in Paris where compatriot Li Na won her landmark Slam title in 2011.
“I did everything I had to do. I always knew I had the level to do well, now I just want to keep going,” said the 19-year-old Zheng.
Meanwhile, the next best, eleventh-ranked Jessica Pegula, who is also the only player left in the Top 15, advanced to the round of 16 by beating last year’s semi-finalist Tamara Zidansek 6-1, 7-6(2).
Finally, 16th seed Elena Rybakina was also knocked out and with that only Swiatek and Pegula are among the top 16 seeds to reach the round of 16.
(With AFP inputs)