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By Richard Pagliaro | Thursday, June 8, 2023


Iga Swiatek saved a set point in the tiebreaker subduing Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-2, 7-6(7) to reach her third Roland Garros final in five years.

Photo credit: Julian Finney/Getty

The tiebreaker stress test surrounded Iga Swiatek like a cloud of red dust.

Seeing the light, Swiatek punctured suspense with a series of piercing forehands.

More: Muchova Saves Match Point, Stuns Sabalenka for Maiden Major Final

World No. 1 Swiatek saved a set point in the tiebreaker beating Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-2, 7-6(7) to advance to her third Roland Garros final in the last five years.

It was Swiatek's 13th straight Roland Garros win—she improves to 27-2 in Paris—and ensures she will retain the world No. 1 ranking when the French Open ends. 

Swiatek will face Czech Karolina Muchova in the championship match.

Reigning champion Swiatek's win, which followed 43rd-ranked Muchova's five game surge to cap a 7-6(5), 6-7(5), 7-5 comeback upset of world No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka in today's first semifinal, means the 22-year-old Pole will stay in the top spot regardless of the result of Saturday's final.

In their lone prior clash on the clay of Prague in 2019, Muchova beat a teenage Swiatek 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.

Muchova, who holds an outstanding 5-0 record against Top-3 ranked opponents, knows this is a much more accomplished champion she will face on Saturday, but carries the confidence of knocking out Australian Open champion Sabalenka in a thriller.

"It just show me that I can play against them," Muchova said. "I can compete, and obviously the matches are super close.

"Even today, match ball down, you really never know if I win or lose, but it's great to know that I have the chance to win and I win against the top players, and that for sure boost my confidence."

Two-time champion Swiatek is the first woman to reach successive French Open finals since Simona Halep in 2017-2018 and the youngest woman to contest consecutive Roland Garros finals since Ana Ivanovic (2007-2008).

It wasn't easy as major semifinal débutante Haddad Maia hammered the top seed's second serve winning 17 of 30 points played on the Pole's second serve and earning seven break points in the match.

Holding a set point at 6-5 in the tiebreaker, Haddad Maia tightened up and flattened a routine forehand rally ball into net. Swiatek dodged danger and drilled two final forehand winners two close in two hours, nine minutes. It was Swiatek's closest Roland Garros victory since a  6-7(5), 6-0, 6-2 fourth-round triumph over Zheng Qinwen in May of 2022.

Exceptional, elastic defense helped Swiatek drain a second break in the first set.

A spinning Swiak retrieved a deep drive then burst back across the court to spin in explosive recovery to extend the point. Haddad Maia, unable to dent the top seed's defense, shoveled a drop shot into the top of the tape as Swiatek broke for 4-2.

The reigning champion confirmed the break at 15 extending her lead to 5-2.

Defending a deep corner drive, Swiatek used her speed and racquet skills to get back in the point and pummel a forehand winner down the line for double set point. Haddad Maia could not control the fizzy forehand from Swiatek as the Brazilian's error ended a 41-minute opener.

Swiatek capped the set on a four-game run winning 8 of 11 first-serve points and converting all three break points in the first set.

Following a near flawless first set, Swiatek made a racquet change only to see Haddad Maia flip the script and produce a three-game run to go up 3-1 in the second set.

Smooth court coverage and that crackling forehand helped Swiatek break back at 30 and level after six games. Swiatek saved a break point and caught a break when her forehand crashed into the tape and plopped over on the Brazilian's side. That fortune bounce pushed the Pole ahead 4-3.

The tall left-hander was crunching returns off Swiatek's kick second serve earning three break points in the ninth game. Swiatek hit the body serve effectively fending off all three break points and eliciting a return error to stand strong for 5-4.

The semifinal débutante stamped a strong hold to level—and become the first woman in this French fortnight to take five games from Swiatek in a set.

A fired-up Haddad Maia opened the tiebreaker with a mini break only to see Swiatek belt a backhand down the line right off the baseline to level.

Swiatek shoveled a backhand long as Haddad-Maia gained the mini break for a 5-3 edge while Polish fans chanted "Iga! Iga!" trying to rouse the top seed across the finish line.

Two hours, four minutes into the fight, Haddad Maia had set point at 6-5, but showed jitters shoveling that relatively routine rally forehand into net.

Exploiting that gift, Swiatek spun a backhand winner crosscourt for a match point only to see Haddad Maia zap a running forehand strike down the line to save it.

Pouncing on a meek sub-70 mph second serve, Swiatek slammed a forehand crosscourt for another match point. This time, Swiatek smacked one final forehand to book her final spot for the third time.

Swiatek carries a perfect 3-0 record in Grand Slam finals into Saturday's championship match. 


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