Iga Swiatek recovers from second-set stumble to seal first-round victory at Wimbledon

World No 1 makes it 36 wins in a row after beating Croatian qualifier Jana Fett 6-0, 6-3 on Tuesday

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The relentless win machine that is Iga Swiatek is safely through at Wimbledon but only after recovering from a second-set stumble against Croatian qualifier Jana Fett on Tuesday.

Swiatek, the world No 1 and top seed at SW19, had the honour of opening the second day's play on Centre Court in the absence of the retired Ash Barty, who won the 2021 title.

After sailing through the first set without losing a game – her 17th 6-0 triumph this year – the Pole then found herself 3-1 down in the second to Fett, who is ranked 252nd in the world.

But Swiatek, who was knocked out in the fourth round at the All England Club last year, was not to be denied her 36th victory in a row as the 21-year-old reigning French Open champion recovered to seal a 6-0, 6-3 first-round win on Centre Court.

It's the longest winning streak on the women’s tour since 1997, when Martina Hingis won 37. Even with seven-time champion Serena Williams in the draw at the All England Club, Swiatek is the woman to beat.

She won five tournaments before heading to Paris in May, earning consecutive titles in Doha, Indian Wells, Miami, Stuttgart and Rome.

“I am pleased it's my first match on grass this season so I knew it was going to be tricky,” said Swiatek in her on-court interview. “I am pretty happy I came back and did it in two sets. It's a new experience for me and pretty exciting.

“I'm just figuring out how to play. I feel I have only played 12 weeks of my life on grass but the whole atmosphere and tradition is pumping me up and just looking forward to the next matches.”

On her remarkable win streak – that has now overtaken Venus Williams' record for the longest run by a women's player in the 21st century – and rise to No 1 in the world, Swiatek added: “I really worked on that and my team gave me huge support and all the work we have been doing has really clicked.

“I am pretty sad Ash [Barty] isn't here as I would really would have loved to play her on grass.”

Next up for Swiatek will be Dutch world No 138 Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove.

Barbora Krejcikova, who won the French Open in 2021 to split Swiatek's two titles there, also advanced to the second round. The 13th-seeded Czech defeated Maryna Zanevska of Belgium 7-6, 6-3.

Spanish fourth seed Paula Badosa sealed her passage to the next round in straight sets after beating Louisa Chirico of the United States 6-2, 6-1.

Fifth seed Maria Sakkari of Greece is also through after easing past Australian Zoe Hives 6-1, 6-4 in 78 minutes. She will face Bulgaria's Viktoriya Tomova in the next round.

American teenager Coco Gauff rebounded from a set down to beat Elena-Gabriela Ruse 2-6, 6-3, 7-5. Gauff, seeded 11, was runner-up to Swiatek at the French Open but needed three sets to get past the Romanian, who is ranked 54th in the world.

Next up for the 18-year-old will be another Romanian in Mihaela Buzarnescu, who defeated last year's Junior Wimbledon finalist Nastasja Schunk 6-4, 6-2.

Former French Open champion and 12th seed Jelena Ostapenko staved off a late comeback attempt by Oceane Dodin to win 6-4, 6-4. The Dane will now take on Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium, who is making her return from maternity leave and currently ranked 606th in the world.

Simona Halep, the 2019 champion and 16th seed this year, defeated Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-2.

Among the seeds heading for the All England Club exit is Olympic champion Belinda Bencic. The Swiss 14th seed lost to Qiang Wang of China 6-4, 5-7, 6-2.

Bencic's countrywoman Jil Teichmann, the 18th seed, is also out after falling to a 6-2, 6-3 defeat against Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia, while Kazakhstan's 27th seed Yulia Putintseva was beaten 6-3, 7-6 by Alize Cornet of France.

Updated: June 28, 2022, 4:12 PM
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