Iga Swiatek in action at the French Open© AFP
Reigning champion Iga Swiatek maintained her bid to become the first woman to successfully defend the French Open title in 16 years by cruising into the third round on Thursday. The world number one crushed American Claire Liu 6-4, 6-0 on Court Philippe Chatrier. Swiatek, who turned 22 on Wednesday, will face China’s Wang Xinyu on Saturday for a place in the second week.
The Polish star could lose her world number one ranking for the first time in over a year next week if she fails to lift a fourth Grand Slam singles title.
Justine Henin was the last woman to win back-to-back Roland Garros titles when she lifted her third in a row and fourth in total in 2007.
Sinner Dumped Out
Italian eighth seed Jannik Sinner missed two match points before being knocked out of the French Open in the second round on Thursday by German Daniel Altmaier after a dramatic five-set battle. Altmaier, the world number 79, twice staved off match points late in the fourth set before eventually prevailing 6-7 (0/7), 7-6 (9/7), 1-6, 7-6 (7/4), 7-5 after five hours and 26 minutes on Court Suzanne Lenglen.
The pair also played a five-set match in the US Open first round last year, when Sinner was the victor. Altmaier will take on Grigor Dimitrov for a spot in the second week.
The 24-year-old twice averted defeat when Sinner was serving for a last-32 place in set four before winning the third tie-break of the match.
Altmaier, who reached the fourth round in 2020, broke in game seven of the decider but then also failed to serve it out. He immediately gave himself another chance, though, and this time crept over the line as he secured a surprise win on his fifth match point after a thrilling final game in which he also saved three break points.
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