Swiatek off to winning start in French Open defense

Defending French Open champion Iga Swiatek picked up Monday right where she left off last year in winning the title: running yet another opponent this way and that on the red clay of Roland Garros in a take-no-prisoners straight-sets victory

PARIS — Defending French Open champion Iga Swiatek picked up Monday right where she left off last year in winning the title: running yet another opponent this way and that on the red clay of Roland Garros in a take-no-prisoners straight-sets victory.

Playing on her 20th birthday, Swiatek treated herself to a 6-0, 7-5 victory — her eighth straight-sets win in a row at Roland Garros, having also not dropped a set in winning the trophy last year as an unseeded 19-year-old.

In pre-tournament practice on the clay, Swiatek has tested her high-kicking forehand and double-handed backhand against the master of those arts at Roland Garros: Rafael Nadal.

Like the 13-time men’s champion, Swiatek used those tools to devastating effect against Juvan, particularly during a dominant first set in which Swiatek gave up just three points on serve — one of them a double-fault.

Poland’s first Grand Slam singles champion faced more resistance in the second set as the 101st-ranked Slovenian settled and Swiatek went off the boil.

“She didn’t give me any birthday gifts,” Swiatek said.

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