Iga Swiatek makes more history with Wimbledon Round 1 victory

Iga Swiatek at Wimbledon
Iga Swiatek beat Sofia Kenin in Round 1 of Wimbledon.

It was business as usual for Iga Swiatek in her opening Wimbledon match on Monday.

There has been plenty of talk about the world No 1 receiving a tough draw at the All England Club, starting with a round-one contest against Sofia Kenin on Tuesday.

Former Australian Open champion Kenin defeated Coco Gauff at this stage a year ago, and famously played Swiatek in the 2020 French Open final – and the opening round of the Australian Open this year.

And, much like in those two meetings, it was the Pole who prevailed.

Swiatek managed to avoid the same fate as Gauff twelve months ago, producing an efficient performance to beat the former world No 4 6-3, 6-4 and reach the second round.

Questions have been raised about how well Swiatek can fare at Wimbledon this summer, with the Pole’s grass record not as strong as her form on clay and hard.

The Pole is now a four-time Roland Garros champion and won the US Open in 2022, but has only once reached the last eight at the All England Club – doing that in 2023.

But, as she approaches her next match against Petra Martic – who she also faced last year – the world No 1 looks as if she will be as tough to beat as ever.

And she is building another incredible run of form that looks tough to stop.

Twenty in a row – and counting

Victory over Kenin was a 20th straight match win for Swiatek, with the five-time major champion having now not lost in over two months.

Swiatek was beaten by world No 4 Elena Rybakina in the semi-final of the Stuttgart Open in April but followed that up by winning WTA 1000 titles in Madrid and Rome, and then a third straight French Open title.

This is now the second-best winning run of her career, only behind her historic 37-match winning streak during the spring and summer of 2022.

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And that makes the Pole one of just two active WTA players to have amassed multiple win streaks of 20 matches or more, emulating all-time great Venus Williams.

Williams, who is not in action at SW19 this year, most famously embarked on a 35-match winning run in 2000, encompassing her Wimbledon, US Open and Olympic Games triumphs that season.

That was the longest WTA win streak of the 21st century until Swiatek’s run in 2022, and the Pole has now emulated the former world No 1 again with this latest streak.

What makes Swiatek’s run even more remarkable is that she is still only 23 years of age, and she is the youngest woman in 19 years to have amassed two such streaks.

The last woman to achieve two streaks of 20 or more consecutive wins under the age of 24 was Justine Henin; like Williams, a seven-time Grand Slam winner.

And Swiatek has again matched another of the Belgian’s great accomplishments, equalling her tally of four French Open titles – and four in the space of five years – back in June.

Swiatek’s path

All eyes will now be on how much longer Swiatek can extend this current run – and if she can claim a first Wimbledon title this fortnight.

The world No 1 beat Martic in round three at the Championships in 2023 and will be a heavy favourite to make it 21 victories in a row over the Croatian.

Following that, she may face a more difficult test against 27th seed Katerina Siniakova or Yulia Putintseva in round three.

Siniakova is never an easy player to beat – though entered this event under a slight injury cloud – while Putinsteva won the Birmingham Classic just over a week ago, and is in strong form in 2024.

However, the Pole would still be backed to beat either woman and reach the second week – where she could face her nemesis.

Jelena Ostapenko is the 13th seed at SW19 this year and famously holds a 4-0 record over Swiatek in their head-to-head.

The Latvian, a former Wimbledon semi-finalist, crushed Ajla Tomljanovic in round one, and it will be interesting to see if she can maintain that form – and set up a blockbuster encounter.

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