11 women to win a Grand Slam in 21st century after saving match point: Iga Swiatek joins list after French Open triumph

Serena Williams Justine Henin
Serena Williams and Justine Henin both saved match points on their way to Grand Slam glory.

From the brink of defeat, Iga Swiatek just about survived in an extraordinary battle against Naomi Osaka at the French Open.

The Pole was 2-5 down in the third set and was also a match point down, but the title favourite rallied to beat the Japanese 7-6(1), 1-6, 7-5 and keep her title defence alive.

Despite scraping through by the skin of her teeth, Swiatek dominated the rest of the tournament, claiming a fourth Roland Garros title.

By doing so, she became the 11th woman this century to win a major after saving a match point.

We look at all 10 women to do so previously – including one player who has done it three times.

Jennifer Capriati – 2002 Australian Open (def Martina Hingis, final)

Capriati won her third and final major in dramatic fashion, saving four match points in the final against Hingis.

Swiss star Hingis held championship point at 5-3 up in the second set, then two more points at 6-5 up, and then at 7-6 up in the second set breaker – but couldn’t convert.

Former No 1 Capriati rallied to seal a stunning 4-6, 7-6(7), 6-2 win.

Serena Williams – 2003 Australian Open (def Kim Clijsters, SF)

The first of three Serena appearances in this list, the 23-time major winner beat sister Venus in the final after battling past Clijsters in the last four.

Searching for her first Slam, Clijsters looked primed for victory as she moved 5-1 up in the deciding set.

But the Belgian got nervous, and Serena battled back after facing two match points in a 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 triumph.

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Anastasia Myskina – 2004 French Open (def Svetlana Kuznetsova, R4)

Myskina was the first Russian woman to ever win a major singles title with her Roland Garros triumph 20 years ago, beating compatriot Elena Dementieva in the final.

And Dementieva was not the only fellow Russian she beat on her way, battling past Kuznetsova in a three-set thriller in round four.

Myskina battled back from the brink of defeat to prevail 1-6, 6-4, 8-6 and reach the last eight, saving one match point deep in the third set.

Serena Williams – 2005 Australian Open (def Maria Sharapova, SF)

Serena again saved match points in the Australian Open semi-final in 2005, battling past long-term rival Sharapova – before eventually beating Lindsay Davenport in the final.

After losses to Sharapova in the Wimbledon and WTA Finals in 2004, the American looked primed for a third straight defeat to her 17-year-old opponent.

But the Russian failed to serve the match out twice – missing three match points on the second occasion – as Serena claimed a dramatic 2-6, 7-5, 8-6 victory.

Justine Henin – 2005 French Open (def Svetlana Kuznetsova, R4)

Twelve months on from missing a match point against Myskina, Kuznetsova was again on the wrong side of a dramatic battle against Henin at Roland Garros in 2005.

A resurgent Henin saved two match points late in the third set on her way to a monumental fourth-round win, battling past her rival 7-6(6), 4-6, 7-5.

The Belgian went on to claim the second of her four French Open titles, beating Mary Pierce in the final.

Venus Williams – 2005 Wimbledon (def Lindsay Davenport, final)

Widely considered one of the greatest Wimbledon finals of all time, Venus saved a match point deep in the third set against Davenport – ultimately claiming her third title at SW19.

Serving to stay in the match at 4-5 down in the decider, the former world No 1 held serve despite Davenport holding a championship point at 30-40 up.

That was a turning point in the contest, as Venus rallied to claim a 4-6, 7-6(4), 9-7 triumph.

Serena Williams – 2009 Wimbledon (def Elena Dementieva, SF)

The third and final time Serena saved a match point to win a Slam came at SW19 15 years ago, once again winning an epic semi-final.

Her contest against Dementieva is the longest women’s semi-final in the tournament’s history, lasting two hours and 49 minutes.

She saved a match point serving to stay in the contest at 4-5 down in the third set, eventually winning 6-7(4), 7-5, 8-6 – and then beating sister Venus in the final.

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Li Na – 2014 Australian Open (def Lucie Safarova, R3)

After final defeats in 2011 and 2013, Na claimed a memorable Australian Open victory in 2014, beating Dominika Cibulkova in the final.

But it was not a straightforward run to the final, with the former world No 2 surviving a tough round three match against Lucie Safarova.

The Czech star narrowly missed a forehand late in the second set on match point up, and Na was able to battle back and triumph 1-6, 7-6(2), 6-3.

Angelique Kerber – 2016 Australian Open (def Misaki Doi, R1)

After beating Serena in the 2016 final on the Rod Laver Arena, Kerber became the first – and to date, only – woman to win a Slam after saving a match point in round one.

The German’s campaign looked set to come to a disappointing end as she struggled her way through a contest against Doi.

But the future world No 1 saved a match point late in the second set and battled her way to a 6-7(4), 7-6(6), 6-3 win.

Caroline Wozniacki – 2018 Australian Open (def Jana Fett, R2)

Wozniacki won the first and only major of her career in Melbourne six years ago, beating Simona Halep in the final – but the tournament could have been completely different for her.

The Dane was one of the pre-event favourites but looked set to be dumped out as early as round two by Croatian ace Fett, who moved 5-1 up in the third set.

But as Fett struggled with nerves and missed two match points, Wozniacki rallied and claimed the final six games in a 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 victory.

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Naomi Osaka – 2021 Australian Open (def Garbine Muguruza, R4)

In one of the best matches in recent times, former world No 1’s Osaka and Muguruza went toe-to-toe in a thrilling fourth-round epic on the Rod Laver Arena three years ago.

Spanish star Muguruza had reached the final 12 months prior and looked primed for another deep run when she moved 15-40 up as Osaka served to stay in the match at 4-5 in the decider.

But the Japanese battled back to win 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, and went on to beat Jennifer Brady in the final.

Barbora Krejcikova – 2021 French Open (def Maria Sakkari, SF)

The last woman to win a Slam after saving a match point also did so at Roland Garros, with Krejcikova saving a match point in a topsy-turvy last-four contest against Sakkari.

Neither Krejcikova nor her Greek opponent had played in a Grand Slam semi-final previously, and both looked a little nervous before Sakkari surged ahead in the third set.

But Krejcikova was able to save a match point at 3-5 down in the decider and rallied to win 7-5, 4-6, 9-7.

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