Seeing a bagel in a WTA final is relatively rare, seeing a double bagel is almost unheard of. However, that is the punishment that Iga Swiatek handed out to Karolina Pliskova in Rome, the last major tune-up for the French Open. The young Pole completely destroyed the (usually) big-serving Czech for the loss of only thirteen points across the entire match.
When the first set flashed by in a whirl of Swiatek winners, smoking returns, and Pliskova errors, with the Czech former World #1 winning only four points in total, onlookers would have been expecting a semblance of a fight back. Swiatek though simply dismissed that notion with a powerful hold to love and yet another crushing return game. Though she was still four games away, Swiatek had taken the match, as well as Pliskova’s soul, in that devastating spell.
The final statistics are something to behold:
- Swiatek won 80% of the points in the match
- Swiatek lost only one point behind her first serve (14/15) and only two behind her second serve (11/13)
- There were only 64 points in the entire match–this is fewer points than one single game from the tennis history books
- The match lasted 48 minutes
Whilst it was no doubt embarrassing for Pliskova, it was more evidence of Swiatek’s building confidence. The world #15 hasn’t had a poor few months since her surprise maiden Grand Slam win in Paris in October 2020 but is definitely now stepping up her level as her title defense approaches.
The footwork is beautifully balanced. Winners are flowing from both wings. The serve looks even improved from last year. It is likely though that Swiatek will be even more pleased with her mental strength than her dominance today. This tournament win comes from a position of two match points down in the third round against Barbora Krejcikova. To win those consecutive points then reel off eight straight sets from that point is ominous for the challengers to her Paris crown.
Is Iga Swiatek now favorite for the French Open title? It definitely looks like it.
Main Photo from Getty.