Swiatek set to improvise in blockbuster Halep rematch

 - Alex Sharp

The reigning Roland-Garros champion transferred her major dominance in Paris following an impressive start at the Australian Open.

Iga Swiatek, direction la deuxième semaineTennis Australie MORGAN HANCOCK

10 Grand Slam matches in a row, 20 successive sets in her favour, Iga Swiatek is consolidating her major credentials.

The Roland-Garros 2020 champion is playing freely and with force, returning to the Australian Open fourth round in emphatic fashion.

“The adventure continues,” tweeted the Polish teenager. It sure does, with a blockbuster Roland-Garros rematch against world No.2 Simona Halep.

Dixième victoire de suite sans perdre un set en Grand Chelem pour Swiatek !Tennis Australie

The rematch against Halep

Last October, also in the fourth round, Swiatek played a pretty much flawless match to brush the Romanian aside 6-1, 6-2 en route to lifting a maiden major.

Remember, that two years ago Halep was the player delivering a 6-1, 6-0 “lesson” for Swiatek on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

Who will prevail this time? How different will it be away from a clay court arena?

“That's tough question. I wasn't thinking about that at all, so I'm going to improvise a little bit. Well, I guess she's a great player, and still, even though I won the last match, I feel like I have nothing to lose, because she's like a champion,” stated the world No.17.

“I'm just gonna do my best and just work and do everything I can perfectly. I think last match it was great, but I was feeling like perfectly in Paris. So it's gonna be hard to being like the same shape again. It's going to be a tough match, and I just hope we're gonna play good and longer maybe.”

So far at Melbourne Park Swiatek has navigated past Arantxa Rus and Camilia Giorgi in straight sets, before pinging 20 winners in a 6-4, 6-3 passage past French protegee Fiona Ferro.

"I try to forget that I'm a Grand Slam champion"

The Pole has quickly bounced back from an early exit at the Gippsland Trophy lead up event last week. The positivity is back in her voice, the clarity of thought is essential for Swiatek to thrive and play freely.

“That's true. I feel much better than last week. That was kind of the toughest point for me when I was playing with a lot of expectations, and I learned my lessons,” continued the 19-year-old.

“Right now, I approach matches differently, and I try to forget that I'm a Grand Slam champion, just focus on being here and playing my game.”

It’s a very clear outlook from Swiatek. She’ll need a clear head to tackle a tremendously high-quality, Grand Slam champion rich section in the draw.

Healthy approach

Should she prevail past Halep, then there’s either 24 major-chasing Serena Williams or Aryna Sabalenka standing in Swiatek’s path. Just as an added bonus, Roland-Garros 2016 champion Garbine Muguruza and reigning US Open champion Naomi Osaka will duel within their half.

“I wasn't even looking at the draw, and I think that's a healthy approach because, I'm trying not to have many expectations and focusing only on the next match is really helping with that,” insisted Swiatek, leaving all the excitement and build-up outside her thought bubble.

Iga Swiatek peut avoir le sourire, tous les voyants sont au vert pour prétendre au doublé Roland-Garros / Open d'Australie.Tennis Australia/ MARK PETERSON

“We have had so many surprises that it's really nice that we have many solid players right now in the draw.

“But from my perspective, I'm just focusing on my game. I'm really happy that they're playing solid, because it's nice to watch some good matches on the TV when I have spare time, but I just focusing on my matches.”

As Swiatek states, it’s all about Simona first.