Only Pole Remaining in the BNP Paribas Poland Open––Iga Swiatek

Iga Swiatek WTA Poland Open Warsaw
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Iga Swiatek advanced to the third round in Warsaw by beating Gabriela Lee 6-3 6-1. The Romanian got a fair few holds in early, but couldn’t touch the Pole on return. “At first it was tough to get used to her lefty spin, so I’m happy that during the match I was able to learn from my mistakes. I was finally able to position myself well, although today was a little bit nervous, less clean hits. Her spin and rhythm changes made it tough,” said the Pole after her match.

Unfamiliar foe, Swiatek not staying at home

The day before, Swiatek said she wasn’t familiar with Gabriela Lee. Less than 24 hours later, she was playing the Romanian on Center Court in Warsaw. “I mostly rely on what the coach tells me in such situations. I usually don’t watch any matches of my opponents, because I’d rather rest up and regenerate, cut myself off these tennis duties. Coach Wiktorowski describes my opponent’s playstyle to me and suggests what should be included in the match tactically. However, a big change this season is that I’m focusing on what I will do on court, not adjusting to the opponent, but playing my game.”

Despite playing in her hometown, Swiatek is not living at her place during the tournament. “I’m trying to simulate the conditions as they are usually on the tour, so I don’t really live at home. I do it similar to footballers, I think. I moved to a hotel, my team is there with me. In a way, it’s easier because the routines stay the same. At home, I always find something to do. I’d rather focus on resting up and in a hotel, there are less distractions.”

How did the other Poles fare?

Maja Chwalinska was the only other home country representative to progress to the second round. She had her chances against Petra Martic, taking her defensive shotmaking up a notch in set two. The experienced Croat survived the crisis and made use of her bigger game to take the decider.

Magdalena Frech lost to Iga Swiatek in the opening round, a brutal draw for a player who’s really improved this season but has limitations that won’t let her go above a certain level.

Martyna Kubka had a very slow-start movement-wise against Elisabetta Cocciaretto. The tall Pole has a great serve and generates clean big hits from the ground, but she needs to be in position to find them. Cocciaretto exposed that, but was given a solid test in the second set.

Weronika Falkowska showed her best tennis at the local WTA 250 event for the second year running, but just wasn’t clutch enough in the key moments against Martic. The Pole blew five set points in the opener, losing in straights.

Main Photo credit: Michał Jędrzejewski / BNP PARIBAS Poland Open