2032 IST: And we will leave you with this... good night and good luck.
2029 IST: Lovely speech!
Iga: “Should I say something else?”
That guy who’s the voice of Roland Garros: “If you want to.”
Iga: “I have no idea! (giggle) Sorry!”
2016 IST: Iga Swiatek became...
- First Grand Slam singles champion from Poland
- Youngest Roland Garros champ since Nadal in 2005, who was also 19
- Lowest ranked French Open winner
- First since Henin in 2007 to win without dropping a set
Swiatek: Sorry, it’s just hard to get my thoughts together. I’m sorry, it is hard to say.
Swiatek: “Two years ago, I won the junior Grand Slam and now I am here. It feels like such a short time. I am just overwhelmed. It was an amazing final”
Swiatek vs Kenin: 6-4, 6-1
Swiatek becomes the first Grand Slam singles champion from Poland. Solid all the way and no nerves in the end. Outstanding. Not a set dropped in the entire tournament.
Swiatek vs Kenin: 6-4, 5-1
Another break. Swiatek up two breaks now and Kenin is struggling to move well.
Swiatek vs Kenin: 6-4, 4-1
Swiatek consolidates the break, hold to love and moves ahead. The trainer is back out at the end of the game for Kenin.
Swiatek vs Kenin: 6-4, 3-1
Swiatek gets another break. She moves up a break now. Kenin will take a little time to get used to the strapping but the Pole needs to use the time to pull ahead.
1953 IST: Kenin is back, the strapping seems to be a little bit stronger.
1950 IST: Swiatek serving to stay warm. It is cold in Paris. Will help her keep her focus too.
1947 IST: Kenin going off the court for treatment. She already had strapping on her left thigh and maybe something to do with that.
Swiatek vs Kenin: 6-4, 2-1
And we have out first service hold in six games. Swiatek holds. How big could this prove to be? Kenin calling for the trainer.
Swiatek vs Kenin: 6-4, 1-1
Another break. Kenin’s second double fault gave Swiatek two breakpoints and she got the break with a wonderful backhand down the line. We are back on serve. A high-level battle this is... who can hold?
In the first set:
Swiatek: 13 winners, 15 unforced errors.
Kenin: 6 winners, 13 unforced errors.
Swiatek vs Kenin: 6-4, 0-1
Kenin with a wonderful forehand down the line to get the break in the first game of the second set. The battle has been well and truly joined.
Swiatek vs Kenin: 6-4
Swiatek takes the opening set in 49 minutes. She made all the right moves. Kenin isn’t out of this yet though – her level got better as the set went on. The good start by Swiatek made the difference.
Swiatek vs Kenin: 5-4
Kenin breaks right back. 44 minutes of superb tennis. The American steps up when she needs to, so hard to just put her away. Back on serve. But Kenin needs to hold – that has proved to be difficult to do today.
Swiatek vs Kenin: 5-3
A long game: 9m 17 secs. A double fault from Kenin gave Swiatek a breakpoint but the American stepped up to win a 19-shot rally and save it. Swiatek got another breakpoint but a return error made it 40-40 again. The Pole persevered to finally get the big break. She will serve for the first set now.
Kenin looks more solid in the shorter points but strangely enough Swiatek, who is the bigger hitter, is winning more of the longer points. One would normally expect it to be the other way around.
Swiatek vs Kenin: 4-3
Important hold for Swiatek. She needed this after being broken in her last service game. Kenin’s mixing in a lot of changes of pace to throw off the big-hitting Pole and she took it to 40-40 before Swiatek managed to close it out.
Swiatek vs Kenin: 3-3
Another hold for Kenin. A lot of unforced errors flowing from Swiatek’s racquet suddenly. All square after 20 minutes.
Swiatek vs Kenin: 3-2
Kenin showing the value of experience. Gets a hold and then breaks right back as Swiatek lost her range a little bit. We are back on serve. The match truly begins now.
Swiatek vs Kenin: 3-1
Finally, Kenin gets on the board with some solid serving. She should feel a lot better after this hold.
Swiatek vs Kenin: 3-0
Another easy hold for Swiatek. The 19-year-old Pole has started well. Really well. After just 8 minutes, she is up 3-0.
Swiatek vs Kenin: 2-0
And we have our first break of the match. Swiatek continues to return well as she has all tournament. Taking the ball early, taking time away from Kenin. Another fast start to the match for Swiatek. Still early days though.
Swiatek vs Kenin: 1-0
The young Pole starts off with a love-hold. Nerves? What’s that!
1839 IST: Clear blue skies. Play at set to begin. Current temp: 14°C
1837 IST: Swiatek bidding to become the youngest Roland Garros champion since Monica Seles in 1992 and the first teenager since Iva Majoli in 1997.
1833 IST: The players are now walking onto the court. The lower-ranked player walks out first – so Swiatek it is. Kenin follows her a little later for what will be her second Major final. Short warm-up session and then, game on!
1830 IST: No.4 seed Sofia Kenin and Iga Swiatek have never played each other as professionals before. However, they clashed once in juniors - also at Roland Garros, in the third round of the 2016 girls’ event. Swiatek, who turned 15 that week and was a qualifier competing in her first junior Grand Slam, upset the 17-year-old No.10 seed Kenin 6-4, 7-5 before falling to No.4 seed Anastasia Potapova 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 in the quarterfinals.
1827 IST: At 19, Swiatek is the youngest player to reach the women’s French Open final since Kim Clijsters in 2001 and she has lost only 23 games on her way to it!
1826 IST: Sofia Kenin says she is very comfortable with her bizarre, no-look service action which has carried her into a maiden Roland Garros final. The 21-year-old American has developed the habit of throwing the ball in the air while simultaneously staring down at her feet. Only when the ball is at its high point and her racquet is in motion does she then swivel her head back up.
“I’ve had that my whole career. I know it’s a little bit different. I’ve had great success with it. I think it would be quite wrong to start changing things now,” said Kenin.
1814 IST: The final between the unseeded 19-year-old and fourth-seeded American is the first Grand Slam title clash to feature two players aged 21 or under since 2008.
1812 IST: Swiatek’s path to the final (x indicates seeded player):
1st rd: bt Marketa Vondrousova (CZE x15) 6-1, 6-2
2nd rd: bt Hsieh Su-Wei (TPE) 6-1, 6-4
3rd rd: bt Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) 6-3, 6-2
4th rd: bt Simona Halep (ROU x1) 6-1, 6-2
QF: bt Martina Trevisan (ITA) 6-3, 6-1
SF: bt Nadia Podoroska (ARG) 6-2, 6-1
1811 IST: Kenin’s path to the final (x indicates seeded player):
1st rd: bt Liudmila Samsonova (RUS) 6-4, 3-6, 6-3
2nd rd: bt Ana Bogdan (ROU) 3-6, 6-3, 6-2
3rd rd: bt Irina Bara (ROU) 6-2, 6-0
4th rd: bt Fiona Ferro (FRA) 2-6, 6-2, 6-1
QF: bt Danielle Collins (USA) 6-4, 4-6, 6-0
SF: bt Petra Kvitova (CZE x7) 6-4, 7-5
1805 IST: Sofia Kenin and Iga Swiatek are the last women standing at a French Open tournament unlike any other, full of surprises and held in the autumnal Paris chill after it was delayed four months by the coronavirus pandemic.
Australian Open champion Kenin is targeting a second Grand Slam of the year while the 19-year-old Swiatek has her sights set on becoming Poland’s first major singles champion.
A quick look ahead to the final:
Sofia Kenin (USA x4) v Iga Swiatek (POL)
Head-to-head: First meeting
– Kenin arrived at Roland Garros having suffered an embarrassing double-bagel defeat by Victoria Azarenka in Rome, her lone warm-up match on clay, a surface she used to despise.
The American had never advanced as far the quarter-finals on clay before this fortnight, but now stands a win away from becoming the first woman to capture two Slams in the same season since Angelique Kerber won the Australian and US Open in 2016.
The 21-year-old is hoping her Melbourne experience will give her an edge over Swiatek, who has blasted through to the final for the loss of just 23 games.
“I’ve been there, done that. I know what the emotions are getting into your first Grand Slam final. I’m hoping she’s going to be a little bit nervous,” said Kenin.
Kenin’s hunger and desire ranks among the best, as does her ability to adjust and counter an opponent armed with greater power as witnessed in her victory over Petra Kvitova.
A five-month shutdown of the season due to the Covid-19 outbreak threatened to check the momentum of her triumph Down Under, and Kenin admitted it was hard at first to adapt.
“With the whole pandemic, things kind of got on hold,” she recounted. “I didn’t have really motivation when I knew that everything is shut down.
“It took some time for me to get my motivation back. I finally got it. I feel like I’m playing the best tennis right now, as well.”
Kenin has gone to three sets in four of her six matches and will need to be at her uncompromising best to subdue an opponent who has ruthlessly swept aside the competition, including top seed and favourite Simona Halep.
At 19, Swiatek is the youngest player to reach the women’s French Open final since Kim Clijsters in 2001.
She has matched the run of compatriot Jadwiga Jedrzejowska – the most outstanding Polish player of the interwar period – who finished runner-up at Roland Garros in 1939.
Swiatek is only the second Polish woman to reach a Grand Slam final in the Open era after Agnieszka Radwanska at Wimbledon in 2012. She had never previously been beyond the last 16.
The latest in a line of teen stars, Swiatek is the seventh unseeded women’s finalist at Roland Garros. Of the previous six, only Jelena Ostapenko in 2017 went on to lift the trophy.
“I will need to be on a different level, the higher level, even though I’m winning easily right now,” said Swiatek. “I’m going to be, like, an underdog.”
Swiatek, then barely 15, beat Kenin 6-4, 7-5 in the French Open junior tournament in 2016, but like Ostapenko three years ago she goes into Saturday’s final hunting her first title of any sort at tour level.
Not that Swiatek, whose work with a psychologist has helped immeasurably with her laser-like focus, expects to be overawed by the occasion.
“Usually I’m that kind of player who is playing better under pressure,” she said. “If I’m not going to choke up, I think everything will be fine.”