Iga Swiatek recovers from rare dropped set to reach French Open quarter-finals
Iga Swiatek dropped a set for the first time in more than a month but stayed on course for the French Open title by beating teenager Zheng Qinwen.
There was some doubt that the seemingly unstoppable world number one was going to extend her winning streak to 32 matches when Zheng snatched the first set despite trailing 5-2.
The 19-year-old from China was also 5-2 down in the tie-break, but reeled off five consecutive points to win it.
However, Zheng took a medical timeout at the start of the second set and re-emerged with her thigh heavily bandaged, eventually falling to a 6-7 (5) 6-0 6-2 defeat.
The best find a way 💪@iga_swiatek completes the final eight, battling by Zheng 6-7(5), 6-0, 6-2 and extending her win streak to 32 matches#RolandGarros pic.twitter.com/R5tEWLqiDa
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) May 30, 2022
However, in a frank post-match press conference, Zheng revealed it was not the injury which hampered her chances.
“It’s before the match already. Girls’ things,” she said. “It’s a pity that I couldn’t give that what I wanted to give today.
“I just want next time I play against her I have like perfect shape and go for next fight.
“It’s just girls’ things, you know? The first day is always so tough and then, you know, I have to do sport and I always have so much pain in the first day. And I couldn’t go against my nature.
“I wish I could be a man on court, but I cannot. In that moment when I say, I really wish I could be a man that I don’t have to suffer from this. It’s tough, yeah.”
Swiatek admitted she was caught by surprise by her enterprising opponent, who is just a year younger than the Pole.
“She’s playing amazing tennis, I’ve never had chance to play her before and I was surprised by some of her shots.
“Huge congrats to her. I’m pretty happy I could come back from a frustrating first set and I’m proud of myself that I’m still in the tournament.
“The quarter-final is such a stressful round so hopefully I can loosen up.”
Swiatek will face American 11th seed Jessica Pegula, who beat Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania 4-6 6-2 6-3, in the last eight.
There will definitely be a Russian in the semi-finals with Veronika Kudermetova and Daria Kasatkina to meet each other.
Banned from Wimbledon, the Russians are making hay in Paris with Kudermetova beating American 22nd seed Madison Keys and Kasatkina defeating Camila Giorgi, the 28th seed from Italy.