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Swiatek equals Henin, sets sights on Serena and Venus

  • Matt Trollope

Iga Swiatek’s sensational winning streak has now seen her draw level with a Roland Garros great and close in on two icons of the sport. 

Swiatek defeated rising Chinese star Zheng Qinwen 6-7(5) 6-0 6-2 to advance to the quarterfinal stage in Paris for the third year running.

Her streak of 20 consecutive sets won may have ended, but she now won 32 matches in a row.

It is the same number achieved by former world No.1 Justine Henin, a four-time Roland Garros champion who went undefeated in the back half of 2007 before Maria Sharapova ended her streak in the Australian Open 2008 quarterfinals.

Now, Swiatek is nearing Serena and Venus Williams, who own the longest winning streaks this century.

Swiatek could equal Venus’s magical run of 35 match wins – a streak that included the 2000 Wimbledon and US Open titles, plus Olympic gold in Sydney – should she triumph at Roland Garros.

Longest WTA winning streaks
Player Streak Year ended
Martina Navratilova 74 1984 (Nov)
Stefanie Graf 66 1990
Martina Navratilova 58 1987
Margaret Court 57 1972
Chris Evert 55 1974
Martina Navratilova 54 1984 (Jan)
Stefanie Graf 46 1988
Stefanie Graf 45 1987
Chris Evert 41 1976 (Jan)
Martina Navratilova 41 1982
Martina Navratilova 39 1983
Martina Hingis 37 1997
Martina Navratilova 37 1978
Monica Seles 36 1990
Chris Evert 36 1976 (Nov)
Venus Williams 35 2000
Serena Williams 34 2013
Chris Evert 33 1982
Chris Evert 33 1981
Chris Evert 33 1975
Justine Henin 32 2008
Iga Swiatek 32 ?
Stefanie Graf 32 1995
Stefanie Graf 32 1994


Swiatek is already a French champion, and for the second straight year is the only WTA top 10 player to progress to the last eight in Paris.

Twelve months ago she was ranked ninth, however, this time she is the game’s dominant No.1 whose last loss came more than three months ago, to Jelena Ostapenko in Dubai.

The Pole is now within three wins of a sixth straight title, and second Grand Slam trophy.

No.11 seed Jessica Pegula awaits in the quarters. 

“I feel more pressure, so that is not enjoyable. But I have been doing well with that, I think,” said Swiatek, who turns 21 on Tuesday.

“I'm taking a lot of confidence in my comeback in second set (against Zheng). So I think it's important that I had this kind of match which is kind of like a cold shower, and it reminded me how to find these solutions after losing a first set.

“I feel when I'm gonna take some positives from it, I think it's going to give me a lot before next matches.”

Swiatek has mostly steamrolled opponents of late; she dropped only 21 games to win the Rome title, the fewest games dropped in any title run on the women’s tour in 2022.

IGA SWIATEK: The most ruthless player in tennis?

That trend seemed set to continue when she moved to a 5-2 lead over Zheng.

But although she earned five set points across the ensuing games, and led 5-2 in the tiebreak, Swiatek could not stop her 19-year-old opponent from snatching the opener.

It indeed proved the “cold shower” she needed; Swiatek responded by winning eight games in a row.

“I'm pretty happy that I could play a little bit faster and put pressure on her,” said Swiatek, who has now won 16 sets by a scoreline of 6-0 in 2022.

“I feel actually a little bit better because I felt like I was a little bit in trouble, and I was able to come back and really refocus and find other solutions, so that's great. And kind of I didn't have a chance to do that in previous matches, because I was leading in the first rounds and then I finished it right.

“We still have chances in second and third, so I try to really focus on that. It's really great for me that physically and mentally I'm ready to win those second sets.

Swiatek has some way to go before matching the legendary Stefanie Graf’s mark of 39 6-0 sets back in 1989.

On a recent episode of The Tennis Podcast, journalist Simon Briggs recounted a conversation he had with Swiatek’s former coach Nick Brown, who watched her practise with Paula Badosa a day before Roland Garros.

“It was so intense; he said he'd not seen anybody practise at that level of attack since Graf 30 years ago. And he thought that was a very good sign for Swiatek,” Briggs revealed.

Notably, Graf’s streaks of 45 wins (1987) and 46 wins (1988) both incorporated titles at Roland Garros.

Later this week, we will know if the same can be said for Swiatek’s own unbeaten run.