French Open women’s final: Ultimate back and forth won by Iga Swiatek

Mandatory Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports /

Don’t look at the score of the French Open women’s final and think Karolina Muchova played at all poorly against Iga Swiatek because most of the match Muchova didn’t. But Muchova simply ran into the technically near-perfect number 1 player in the world on that player’s best surface. Muchova could have beaten most players in the final, but few can beat Swiatek on the clay of Roland Garros.

The match was really three matches in one. Swiatek started strong and appeared to be on the verge of simple dominance and being done in an hour and a half. Instead, the match went almost three hours because as much as Swiatek dominated the opening – winning nine of the first 11 games – Muchova won the next nine of 11. Muchova even had a 2-0 lead in the third set. But in the end, Swiatek won a well-played match 6-2 5-7 6-4.

Swiatek, still just 22 years old even though it seems like she has been around for about 25 years now, won her third French Open, second in a row and third in four years, and fourth Grand Slam. In a year where she has been a bit hit-and-miss in finals (she is now 3-2 in all finals in 2023), she did just enough to prove the opposing player has to be almost perfect to defeat her. This is especially true on clay where Swiatek is now 57-9 on the surface.

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Muchova forced Swiatek to change her game midway through the second set. For the match, Swiatek won just 62 percent of her first serves, but the issue was many of them stopped landing in the second set. Muchova crept in more and more on second serves and was able to steal 43 percent of Swiatek’s second offerings. Swiatek was also broken four times.

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In the end, however, Swiatek’s experience at the highest levels and internal calm during the biggest points let her take the final three games of the match, winning on a double-fault by Muchova which seemed too anti-climatic for a match where both players played at such a high level. Muchova hit some of the most powerful, draw-dropping shots, but Swiatek’s metronome-like striking deep into corners won the day as it does most times for Swiatek. She has now won her first four Grand Slam finals and only a handful of players, men or women, can say that.