Iga Swiatek taking novel approach as top seeds fall at French Open

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Iga Swiatek is the last top-10 seed standing (Michel Euler/AP) (AP)
Iga Swiatek is the last top-10 seed standing (Michel Euler/AP) (AP)

Iga Swiatek has been killing time between matches at the French Open by reading Agatha Christie’s ‘Murder On The Orient Express’.

Next the world number one might want to try ‘And Then There Were None’ after she suddenly found herself as the only one of the top 10 seeds still in the tournament.

In fact, ‘The Case Of The Disappearing Seeds’ might be one for Hercule Poirot to investigate after Paula Badosa and Aryna Sabalenka crashed out on Saturday, joining seven others on the Roland Garros missing list.

Third seed Badosa of Spain retired injured at 6-3 2-1 down against Russia’s Veronika Kudermetova, and seventh seed Sabalenka imploded against Italian Camila Giorgi, taking the first set before losing 4-6 6-1 6-0.

Top seed Swiatek, from Poland, was already the hot favourite for a second title before a ball was struck in Paris, and her route is even clearer now.

Nevertheless, the 20-year-old still had to negotiate a rare second-set dip to extend her winning streak to a daunting 31 matches.

Swiatek seemed to be cruising into round four as she led 6-3 4-1, with two breaks of serve, against Danka Kovinic of Montenegro. But four games later Kovinic, ranked 95 in the world, had hit back to lead 5-4.

However, Swiatek managed to reset and claim a 6-3 7-5 and a place in the last 16.

“I wanted to play really aggressively but sometimes I feel I was putting in too much power and it was hard to control it,” she said. “I needed to play with a little less risk and be more consistent.

“She did a pretty good job of defending and giving back at full speed.

“She was serving really precisely – it was a little tricky but I have played with some heavy hitters already, but it was pretty hard to adjust at the beginning.

“I feel like I can play more fearlessly but today I lost both the breaks. But playing well at the beginning is putting pressure on my opponents, which is important.”

Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu ended the fairytale run of French wildcard Leolia Jeanjean with a 6-1 6-4 win.

 (AP)
(AP)

Jeanjean, ranked 227 in the world, had stunned eighth seed Karolina Pliskova in the second round.

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 £107,000 in prize money.

Fellow French player Alize Cornet had to tearfully retire injured at 6-0 3-0 down to 19-year-old Qinwen Zheng from China.

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