Iga Swiatek against Coco Gauff in the Roland-Garros final

Iga Swiatek against Coco Gauff in the Roland-Garros final

PARIS – After two weeks of play, tennis has obtained “the best female final” possible at Roland Garros, where on Saturday, world No. 1 Iga Swiatek and 18-year-old American Coco Gauff face off for the title.

Swiatek, the 2020 French Open champion, is looking for a No. 35 straight win that would equate to the best run of this century, a record held by Venus Williams. More importantly, it would give her a second Grand Slam title and cement her status as the undisputed world No. Gauff, ranked No. 18 in the world, is in her first Grand Slam final after a dream run in which she didn’t drop a set.

We will have live updates throughout:

Time is turning…

The sky suddenly clouded over at Roland Garros, with thunderstorms expected this afternoon. The spotlight is now on at Court Philippe Chatrier as Gauff begins the second set by breaking Swiatek. –Tom Hamilton

Iga takes the first set

With Swiatek taking the opener, 6-1, in just 32 minutes, it was Gauff’s first set loss of the tournament. To make matters worse for Gauff, Swiatek is 35-4 in his major career after winning the first set and is 18-0 at Roland Garros. — D’Arcy Maine

Swiatek so aggressive

It was a brutal set for Coco Gauff. Swiatek was all over his second serve. Gauff needs a quick start in the second set to give her the belief. –Simon Cambers

Polish royalty in the stands watching Polish royalty

Footballer Robert Lewandowski is here in the stadium watching Swiatek. Both are Poland’s hottest sports stars. Lewandowski took a break from domestic duties to lend his support to Swiatek after starting in the 2-1 win over Wales on Wednesday. –Tom Hamilton

Good start needed

What is the importance of winning the first set of a major final? Good news for Swiatek, who quickly took a 3-0 lead, it’s almost a requirement on the women’s side.

According to ESPN Stats & Information research, the first-set winner has won 58 of the last 65 women’s major finals and 18 of the last 20 at Roland Garros. Simona Halep was the last Parisian champion to recover from the first set loss; she rallied to come back on Sloane Stephens to win the trophy in 2018. — D’Arcy Maine

All About Coco’s Second Serve

If Gauff can play the serve flawlessly, and by that I mean keep the number of double faults to a minimum, then she has a real chance. The problem is that Swiatek will be looking for his second serve. So if Gauff wants to win, a high first-serve percentage is imperative.

Unsurprisingly, Gauff looks nervous. She could do with a few errors at the start of Swiatek to help her settle. Not sure she gets them, though. –Simon Cambers


The Philippe Chatrier court continues to fill up as Swiatek and Gauff come out to a brilliant reception from the crowd. We’ve already had a visit from Rafa Nadal today ahead of his final tomorrow, and there’s tennis royalty sitting at the front of the President’s rostrum with Billie Jean King in the front seats. –Tom Hamilton

Warming up

Match preview

Why Iga Swiatek will win

Quite simply, Swiatek is currently the best player on the planet. Since losing to Jelena Ostapenko in February, she has dropped just two sets, one in Stuttgart and one in Paris, winning 34 matches in a row and bagging five titles along the way.

Champion in 2020 at 19, Swiatek is a much better player now. Ash Barty’s retirement could have left her unrivaled and unmotivated, just as John McEnroe felt when Bjorn Borg stepped down. Instead, she has grabbed No. 1’s coat and appears to be actively kissing him.

“I use No. 1 to put pressure on my opponents,” she said earlier in the tournament.

His serve is strong, his forehand is lethal, his backhand solid, his conviction unstoppable. Much has been made of the work she and her sports psychologist, Daria Abramowicz, have done off the court, keeping her balance and putting everything into perspective, but Swiatek’s innate ability to find a solution on the court when ‘she’s in trouble is equally impressive.

Aggressive on her opponent’s second serve, where she won 66% of the points, she will put pressure on Gauff, whose Achilles heel is her sometimes breaking second serve. She will attack, she will attack and attack again. It’s hard to see her arrested. –Simon Cambers

Why Coco Gauff will win

From the start of the tournament, there was something about Coco Gauff, a newfound maturity on the pitch that is matched only by her remarkable maturity off it.

The 18-year-old reached the quarter-finals here two years ago and she started her visit to Paris this year by celebrating her high school graduation. From the start, she seemed relaxed, determined and absolutely in her element.

Clay might yet prove to be his best surface. A brilliant driver on all surfaces, it has adapted to sliding and its ground coverage is effortlessly efficient.

It’s his first Grand Slam final, so there will be nerves, no doubt. But her game is so well placed that she seems to belong at this level. This is probably the first of many Grand Slam finals, certainly not just one.

It will all depend on how much control she can get from the baseline. If Swiatek is able to serve well and move his forehand forward, it could be tough. But if Gauff extends the rallies and focuses on backhand to backhand rallies, she can win.

There is a Grand Slam title on the line, but the meaning is Gauff will take it in his stride.

Swiatek “is on a streak right now, obviously,” Gauff said. “I think going in I have nothing to lose and she’s definitely the match favorite on paper. I’m just going to play free and play my best tennis. I think in a Grand Slam final anything can to arrive.” –Simon Cambers

What’s going to happen ?

On paper, Swiatek should win, but it could be close, maybe three sets. If Gauff serves well, she has a great chance. Otherwise, Swiatek is probably too strong right now. Sit back and enjoy! –Simon Cambers

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