World No. 1 Rebounds to Take French Open

Unseeded Karolina Muchova pushes Iga Swiatek to third set in final
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 10, 2023 12:50 PM CDT
Swiatek Rebounds, Takes French Open Thriller
Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic celebrates after scoring a point in the 12th game of the second set against Poland's Iga Swiatek on Saturday.   (AP Photo/Aurelien Morissard)

Iga Swiatek suddenly seemed lost in the French Open final. Her strokes were awry. Her confidence was gone. Her big early lead had vanished. She kept looking up into the stands, seeking guidance from her coach and her sports psychologist. So much was amiss right up until she was two games from defeat against unseeded Karolina Muchova on Saturday. And then, when she needed to most, Swiatek became herself again: the No. 1 player in women’s tennis for more than a year, the defending champion at Roland Garros. Aggressive. Decisive. Full of clarity. Swiatek overcame a second-set crisis and a third-set deficit to beat Muchova 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 and collect her third career championship at the French Open and fourth Grand Slam title, the AP reports.

"I really love being here," Swiatek said afterward. "Basically, it's my favorite place on tour." Muchova grabbed five of six games on the way to pulling even at a set apiece. She carried that momentum into the deciding set, going ahead by a break twice. That's when Swiatek returned to her usual brand of crisp, clean tennis, scurrying around the red clay with sublime defense and finding just the occasions to try for a winner. She took the last three games of the match. When it ended on a double-fault by Muchova, Swiatek dropped her racket, hunched forward, and covered her face as she cried. The 22-year-old from Poland has won the French Open twice in a row now and became the youngest woman with four Grand Slam trophies since Serena Williams, who accomplished it at age 20.

The contest was filled with sections where Swiatek—the dominant player in women’s tennis for more than a year now—was better, and sections where Muchova was. Every time one woman or the other seemed to be wresting control, every time one or the other raised her level enough that the end appeared in sight, the road curved in a different direction. It was Muchova's first defeat against a top-three opponent in six meetings, per Reuters. "I'll keep it short because it's bit emotional," Muchova said after the thrilling final, with tears flowing and the crowd chanting her name.

(More French Open stories.)

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