The tone of this quarter-final was quickly set by Caroline Garcia: three winning returns from the first game to break an Iga Swiatek who probably did not expect that. And the match was again concluded on a break, Garcia coming full circle in three sets (6-1, 1-6, 6-4) to afford the world number one, unsinkable in the spring on clay and winner, in particular of Roland Garros.
After this sensational start, Garcia (45th in the world) kept up the pace in a first set where Swiatek was reduced to the role of extra by a totally unleashed Frenchwoman. Aggressive as possible, as always, this time Garcia had the precision that his game sometimes lacks. A cocktail obviously not to Swiatek’s taste, who has never been in a position to show off his power. Regularly put away from the ball, nailed on the spot after her service by laser returns (60% of points for Garcia behind Swiatek’s first ball), she was simply powerless.
Even when she was able to raise her level to redo a late break, it was not enough and Garcia completed a first set that she had flown over at very high altitude.
But Iga Swiatek is not number 1 for nothing and when Garcia did a little less well, with the first big mistakes on balls well within her reach, the Polish woman raised her level of play. Balance forces then reversed sharply and Swiatek once again became the boss. Back to the wall at 5-1, Garcia saved three set points with style (a winning return, a volley and a winning shot from the bottom), but the fourth was too many. After a service winner, Swiatek was back to one set all.
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After two one-sided rounds, the match was finally balanced for a good fight. Garcia had regained her luster and, while continuing to hit all the balls at full intensity, she regularly managed to deceive Swiatek’s vigilance thanks to well-considered counter-steps.
Frustrated, the Polish did not reign over the set but she asserted her knowledge of the game on earth. Until Garcia gets a break point at 4-3 and converts it with a new forehand winner to afford the right to serve for the set.
It would be postponed because Swiatek is the stuff of those who are never beaten in advance: a superb volley gave him a break point and Garcia sent a backhand into the net to make his game his break in advance (5 -4). But the Frenchwoman didn’t give up and immediately put the pressure back on Swiatek, taking all the risks in return. A paying strategy and Swiatek cracked, for his fifth defeat this season. Garcia’s first victory against a number one.