Tennis-Clinical Swiatek crushes qualifier Jeanjean to start French Open defence

By Thomson Reuters May 27, 2024 | 8:37 AM

PARIS (Reuters) – Top seed Iga Swiatek cruised past qualifier Leolia Jeanjean 6-1 6-2 on Monday to successfully launch her title defence at the French Open where she seeks a fourth title on the Paris clay.

The 22-year-old world number one, who has won the French Open three times in the last four years, arrived in Paris on the back of a 12-match winning streak on clay, having rolled through the tournaments in Madrid and Rome.

“Matches like that give me a lot of satisfaction,” said Swiatek, who next faces former world number one Naomi Osaka in the second round. “Overall, I am happy with my performance.”

Swiatek, who has now won her last 15 matches in Paris following her back-to-back wins in 2022 and 2023, did not need much time to show she was determined to stretch that winning run, breaking her opponent in the first game.

A superb forehand down the line put Swiatek 4-1 up before running away with the first set in half an hour.

The Frenchwoman, ranked outside the top 100, tried to draw a line under the first set, breaking the Pole at the start of the second outing but was broken straight back.

Swiatek, who has now won 29 of her first 31 matches at the French Open, held serve before earning another break to go 5-2 up, having hit 24 winners at that stage compared to her opponents’ two. She ended the contest on her first match point and with winner number 26.

The Pole’s dominance in recent years, especially on clay, has seen Swiatek compared with 14-time men’s French Open champion Rafael Nadal, who was due to play his first-round match later on Monday.

“I think it’s too early. For sure I’ m proud of my achievements,” said Swiatek. “It’s always been my favourite surface. It is where tennis gives me the most pleasure.”

“Comparing me to him, I don’t think I am on that level yet. I still have many things to prove. I’m just at the beginning.”

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Ed Osmond)