Sofia Kenin wept in her courtside chair and then admitted her Roland Garros title hopes were undone by a leg injury as well as Iga Swiatek’s fearless assault.
The American fourth seed, looking to add the French Open to her triumph in Australia earlier this year, went down 6-4, 6-1 in Saturday’s final.
After dropping the first set, the 21-year-old slipped 2-1 behind in the second and required her left thigh to be taped after which she failed to win another game.
“I’m not going to use this as an excuse, but my leg obviously was not the best,” she said. “I’ve got to get some rest and hopefully my leg will get better.”
Kenin had spent three and a half hours more than Swiatek in getting to Saturday’s final.
Four of her six matches had gone to three sets while Swiatek had not dropped a set the entire tournament.
“I’ve had the problem for a few of my matches. I’ve had to tape. I saw the physio and everything, so I was doing everything I can,” explained the American.
“Today after the first set I just felt it was so tight, I couldn’t move. That’s why I had to call the trainer. It just got worse.”
The 19-year-old Swiatek, at 54 the lowest-ranked woman to capture the Roland Garros title in the modern era, is the ninth first-time major champion in the past 14 Grand Slams.
She is also Poland’s first Grand Slam singles champion.
Despite her disappointment, Kenin saluted her opponent.
“I feel like she served really well. She dictated really well with her forehand,” she said.
“She played some great tennis. She’s got the really good spinny forehand up the line. Really good backhand down the line.”
As Swiatek collected the trophy from France’s 2000 champion Mary Pierce, Kenin admitted it was hard to look on.
“She was giving an interview, and I was just sitting on the bench and crying. Obviously, I had a lot of emotions. I tried my best to not cry in the speech and everything. In the end, I cried.”
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