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Swiatek 'didn't believe' comeback win over Osaka was possible

Iga Swiatek avoided a huge scare against Naomi Osaka (Bertrand GUAY)
Iga Swiatek avoided a huge scare against Naomi Osaka (Bertrand GUAY)

Defending champion Iga Swiatek said she would needed to have been "pretty naive" to think she could beat Naomi Osaka after falling match point down before recovering to win a French Open thriller on Wednesday.

The world number one fought back from the brink of defeat to outlast Osaka 7-6 (7/1), 1-6, 7-5 and keep her bid for a third successive Roland Garros title on track.

Swiatek trailed 5-2 in the deciding set against fellow four-time Grand Slam champion Osaka, saving a match point on her opponent's serve and winning the final five games to avoid a shock early exit.

"I honestly didn't believe I could win, because I would be pretty naive," said Swiatek, who now holds a 30-2 record in five trips to Paris.

"But it didn't change the fact that I just tried to do work to play better. I actually managed to be more focused at the end of the match, which went pretty badly.

"In first and second set I felt like I'm not completely in the zone. When I was under the biggest pressure I was able actually to switch that and maybe that made the difference."

Swiatek is attempting to become only the fourth woman in the Open era to lift four Roland Garros titles and just the second -- after Serena Williams -- to complete the clay-court treble of Madrid, Rome and French Opens in the same season.

Osaka, appearing at only a second Grand Slam since giving birth to her daughter last July, was on the cusp of her biggest win since returning to tennis at the start of the year before it slipped from her grasp.

"This match was really intense, much more intense for the second round than I ever expected," said Swiatek, who goes on to play Jana Fett or Marie Bouzkova in the last 32.

"Naomi played amazing tennis and maybe she is going to be a clay-court specialist in a while!"

- Crowd frustration -

With Swiatek battling to stay in the match as Osaka threatened a huge upset, a shout from the crowd mid-point left her visibly frustrated.

"Sometimes under a lot of pressure, when you scream something during the rally, it is very distracting and hard to focus," Swiatek said while addressing fans on Court Philippe Chatrier after the match.

"This is serious for us and sometimes it is hard to accept. The stakes are big and we are playing for a lot of money. If you could support us before the rallies but not during.

"I love you guys and I always love playing here so let's continue that."

Swiatek again touched on the incident in her post-match press conference as the topic of French Open spectators' behaviour resurfaced in the wake of a claim by David Goffin that a fan spat chewing gum at him as he defeated French player Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard on Tuesday.

"It happened more times, especially before the returns, and that's why I wanted to speak out about it, because if it would happen one time, I would just let it go," Swiatek said of fans crying out during play.

"I know the French crowd is enthusiastic. Yeah, but for now in tennis we have these kind of rules that there should be, like, more silence in the audience, and I just wanted to point out that it's not easy for us."

The Pole was hopeful her gentle reprimand would not turn the Roland Garros faithful against her.

"But I know that French crowds can be kind of harsh, so I don't want to be under the radar right now," said a smiling Swiatek.

"So, yeah, I don't know if that was a good decision or not."

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