Iga Swiatek faces off against Alize Cornet for a chance to reach the fourth round, equalling her career-best Wimbledon result. She will have no plans on stopping there, hoping to extend her winning streak to 42 matches by capturing the Wimbledon title. She will not have an easy path to lift the trophy, but at her current form is the clear favorite and will continue to ride her momentum for a second consecutive major title.
Why Iga Swiatek Will Win Wimbledon
Grass Court Abilities
While Swiatek has never made a Wimbledon quarterfinal, she is still a serious threat on grass courts. She won the Wimbledon junior title in 2018, so she gained winning experience on the surface at a young age. She also is just 21-years-old and has been a serious fixture on tour only for the last couple of season. Wimbledon 2020 was canceled due to the pandemic, so she really only had one chance to compete for the title while at a high level. She lost to Ons Jabeur in the fourth round last year in three sets, who is likely the #2 favorite to bring home the title. Swiatek is still relatively new to grass, but her movement and attacking groundstrokes make her strengths easy to maximize on the surface.
Swiatek did struggle in her last match, dropping the second set to Lucky Loser Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove. Most of the struggles were on serve, where she was broken three times. She did improve her percentage of points won on service from 50% in the first set to 64% in the second, and 73% in the third. She finished strong, not even facing a break point or reaching deuce in any of her last four service games.
While serving struggles can be concerning, they are the easiest to fix and tend to be the most variable match-to-match. They also are less indicative of trouble adjusting to the surface, so with Swiatek’s overall game, she should be just fine and this is simply a tough match. Losing a set early in the tournament may be positive for her as well. She has been so dominant, an early scare may help her increase her already strong focus and up her game even more the rest of the way.
Road to the Title
With as variable as the WTA tends to be in general, a trend that has continued at Wimbledon, it is hard to predict exact matchups. Swiatek will be favoured in any match she plays, so examining the toughest potential opponent each round will give the best sense of her chances to win the title. She faces Alize Cornet in the third round. The veteran is always dangerous, but has not played her best on grass courts. She holds a winning record at three of the four majors, but is just 11-14 in her career at Wimbledon. She does not have the power to get past Swiatek and should not give her much of a battle. The fourth round will see her face off against Barbora Krejcikova or Ajla Tomljanovic. Swiatek beat Krejcikova in their two previous matchups, both last year.
Krejcikova is an excellent clay courter, but will not have quite enough weapons on grass to give Swiatek trouble. Tomljanovic is excellent on grass, reaching last year’s Wimbledon quarterfinals. Historically, she has been good at taking care of business against lesser players but is not as strong against top competition. Either opponent would put up a fight, but they both lack the tools required to stop Swiatek’s dominant run.
Jessica Pegula is the likely quarterfinal opponent. Her powerful game makes her a tough matchup on paper for Swiatek. Swiatek is 2-1 in their prior matchups, though Pegula’s one win was against a teenage Swiatek in 2019, and Swiatek won both of their meetings this year in straight sets. Pegula equalled her best Wimbledon performance by making the second round, and will be in unchartered territory if she reaches the quarterfinal. Swiatek’s experience will pay off and she will thrive in the moment and not be overly challenged by the American.
Serious Semifinal and Final Challenges
The semifinal could be very tricky, with likely opponents including former champions Petra Kvitova and Simona Halep, Swiatek’s opponent in the French Open final Coco Gauff, or world #4 Paula Badosa. Each player is strong on grass, with Badosa and Kvitova’s power making them real threats to Swiatek. Fitness will come more into play by each player’s sixth match of the Championships, and Iga will use her youth and elite fitness to outlast either Halep or Kvitova who both seem to be past their primes.
Badosa is strong and powerful but proved to be vulnerable in losing her one tune-up match for Wimbledon in ugly fashion, and its unclear if she has the level to beat Swiatek. Gauff showed nerves in their French Open final, and that will be tough to overcome if she has to face Swiatek again. Swiatek also has the advantage of having an easier draw to the semifinal, and any of the four players mentioned with have to fight through each other to reach the final four before playing Swiatek. Any of the four could triumph in the right circumstance, but Swiatek has an advantage over all of them which will help her reach her first Wimbledon final.
With many upsets in the bottom of the draw, Ons Jabeur seems to be the clear favorite to get through to the final. She owns a 2-2 record in her career against Swiatek, highlighted by her victory at Wimbledon last year. Jabeur knows what it takes to beat Swiatek and has a real chance to win the title. The biggest advantage Swiatek has is her experience at that level. As mentioned earlier, Coco Gauff struggled with nerves in her first major final, as many players do. Jabeur has never even reached a major semifinal, and the pressure will be massive, especially at Wimbledon. Swiatek seems to never show signs of nerves and will come out confident in the final. Jabeur certainly has the game to do it, but in what will sure to be a tight match, the small confidence edge on big points will be the deciding factor in Swiatek’s favor.
Swiatek has lost just three times all season, and one of those three was to Ash Barty. Barty would be a real threat to beat Swiatek and defend her title here, but she of course announced her shock retirement which led to Swiatek becoming world #1. She has found another level in the past few months, in the midst of a historic winning streak longer than even Serena Williams was ever able to manage. She has not just won the matches, but won connivingly, rarely even dropping a set or going to a tiebreak.
She will have difficult challenges in the later rounds, but she has had no problem facing those in the past. She has won five of the seven “big titles” this year, and has managed to perform against many of the world’s best plyers. Her dominance will continue at Wimbledon, and she will at a Wimbledon title to her constantly-growing resume.
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