Iga Swiatek pulls off greatest magic trick against Naomi Osaka at French Open

Swiatek appeared to pull off a miracle against Osaka at the French Open.
Iga Swiatek plays Naomi Osaka at French Open
Iga Swiatek plays Naomi Osaka at French Open / Franco Arland/GettyImages

Iga Swiatek had no business winning her second-round match against Naomi Osaka. After a first set that Swiatek was barely able to pull out, she was crushed by Osaka in the second set, and Swiatek only won one game. But Swiatek isn't the new Rafael Nadal without a good reason.

Down a break through the third set, watching Osaka punish winners past her, Swiatek hung in like a boxer who had taken a lot of body blows but refused to go down. Swiatek is a champion because she has won titles, but she doesn't win those titles by physical skill alone. She never gives up on herself, and she never gives in to her opponent.

Still, she found herself down 3-5 in the third set while Osaka was not dropping form. The WTA No. 1 was even faced with a match point on Osaka's serve and found a way to persevere. She is a metronome who does not get overly emotional - win or lose - and her composure likely was as important to her come-from-behind victory as her shots.

Iga Swiatek pulls off miracle in defeating Naomi Osaka at the French Open

Credit should also go to Osaka as well, of course. She had not beaten a WTA top-ten player since January 2020. On Wednesday at the French Open against three-time champion Swiatek, Osaka looked like the better player for most of the match. She likely should have won and she should gain confidence from her performance.

But Swiatek does not give victories away, especially on the Paris clay. She is seemingly unbeatable even when she looks defeated. The truth is that Osaka played as well as anyone could have against Swiatek and might have beaten anyone else on the WTA tour. But she couldn't beat Swiatek in what became an instant classic.

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Somehow, late in the third set, both players got even better and each game was contested. Each made shots that the other could not return. Each hit with pace and angles most people who have ever held a racket could not do.

This was former No. 1 versus current No. 1, but Swiatek also has won three of the last four French Opens and could be on her way to winning her fourth (and many beyond that as well). Swiatek should not have won against Osaka, but she somehow pulled victory from the jaws of defeat 7-6(1) 1-6 7-5. That is what champions do.

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