Swiatek stutters at French Open but wins again while 'magnificent' Medvedev sails through

Pole drops serve three times against Kovinic but goes on to secure 31st successive victory

Iga Swiatek celebrates after beating Danka Kovinic in the French Open third round, on Saturday, May 28, 2022. AP
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There were finally some signs of glitches in the Iga Swiatek win-machine on Saturday – but that did not stop the world No 1 from booking her place in the French Open fourth round.

Swiatek dropped serve three times against 95th-ranked Danka Kovinic of Montenegro before sealing a 6-3, 7-5 victory at Roland Garros – the Pole's 31st successive win.

The 2020 Paris champion is on the longest unbeaten run in the women's tour since Serena Williams bagged 34 victories in succession in 2013.

Swiatek, who is unbeaten since last February, has also won 46 of her last 47 sets after claiming titles on the claycourts of Stuttgart and Rome.

After coasting to quickfire wins against Ukraine's Lesia Tsurenko and Alison Riske of the United States, the match against Kovinic proved a bit more problematic.

"I wanted to play aggressively but maybe putting too much power and her balls were so powerful so it was tough to handle at full speed. I had to take fewer risks but she did a great job defending," said Swiatek.

"She was serving with precision so it was tricky to see where she was going to serve but I have played heavy hitters before, although it was a bit hard to adjust at the beginning."

The 20-year-old will now face Zheng Qinwen next after her opponent - Alize Cornet of France - was tearfully forced to retire through injury with the Chinese teenager 6-3, 3-0 ahead.

Swiatek is now the only top-10 seed left in the tournament after Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka and Paula Badosa of Spain both lost.

Seventh seed Sabalenka collapsed to a 4-6, 6-1, 6-0 defeat against Italy's Camila Giorgi, while third seed Badosa dropped out of her match against Veronika Kudermetova due to injury while 6-3, 2-1 down.

The fairy-tale run of wildcard Leolia Jeanjean is over after the 227th-ranked player was defeated 6-1, 6-4 by Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania.

Jeanjean was the first wildcard in 34 years to make the last 32 when she knocked out former world No 1 Karolina Pliskova.

The 26-year-old lived on the minimum wage after a knee injury forced her to give up tennis for almost five years, but her decision to return paid off handsomely as she will pocket around $135,000 in prize money.

The former US college star slipped 0-5 down in the first set to her 31-year-old opponent. But she battled hard in the second, coming back from 1-5 down and saving three match points before falling to defeat.

Begu – who was fined $10,000 in her previous match for bouncing her racquet off the ground and into the crowd – will now take on US 11th seed Jessica Pegula who beat Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia 6-1, 7-6.

In the men's draw, world No 2 Daniil Medvedev trounced Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 in a victory that took less than two hours.

The US Open champion, who reached the quarter-finals at Roland Garros last year after four consecutive first-round exits, played near flawless service games throughout to give his opponent few opportunities.

"It was magnificent today. I did not have my serve broken," Medvedev, runner-up at the Australian Open in January, said. "On this surface it is quite unusual. Hopefully there are more such matches for me next week.

"Like in my French, I try to do better in my tennis all the time. The better I learn French the better my tennis will become."

Stefanos Tsitsipas also strolled into the next round after sweeping past world No 95 Mikael Ymer of Sweden 6-2, 6-2, 6-1. The Greek fourth seed was dominant from start to finish on Court Suzanne Lenglen, taking control early in all three sets to ease to a 92-minute victory.

Jannik Sinner, seeded 11, saved 11 set points in the second set on the way to beating Mackie McDonald 6-3, 7-6, 6-3. The Italian takes on 7th seed Andrey Rublev – who needed four match points to get past Cristian Garin 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 – for a place in the quarter-finals.

Updated: May 28, 2022, 4:53 PM
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