Swiatek rocks on past Kontaveit

 - Simon Cambers

Defending champion has now won her last 20 consecutive sets at Roland-Garros as she blasts into the fourth round

Iga Swiatek, Roland Garros 2021, third round© Cédric Lecocq/FFT

Iga Swiatek has been playing like a rock star at this year’s Roland-Garros – and listening to others at the same time.

The 20-year-old Pole, whose march to the title last year was accompanied by the sounds of Guns N' Roses (Welcome to the Jungle was on repeat) in her ears, says she’s switched bands as she psyches herself up for matches.

“I have the same playlist as in Rome, so it's Led Zeppelin right now,” she said. “Last year it was Guns N' Roses, right now it's Led Zeppelin; so similar kind of music but different band.

“Off court I started to listen to some Polish music, and that's new for me because actually I haven't listened to Polish music ever. It's really cool. I would recommend it. But probably from this group, only two people would understand it.”

Swiatek booked her place in the last 16 at Roland-Garros with a 7-6(4), 6-0 victory over Anett Kontaveit and now plays Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine for a spot in the last eight.

Unlike many people who are influenced by their parents’ musical tastes, Swiatek said she had found Led Zeppelin herself, albeit with the help of a film.

“I just started listening to rock, and I was like browsing, and I liked them,” she said.

“I think I started listening to them more when I watched 'Thor'. Yeah, I listened to them even a few years ago, and I watched 'Thor: Ragnorok' in Australia."

Kontaveit had beaten Swiatek in both their previous meetings and broke in the first game.

The Estonian held the lead to 4-3 but Swiatek didn’t panic, broke back and then won the tiebreak before relaxing in the second set and storming away to her 10th straight-sets victory in Paris in a row.

Swiatek said it was good to have a battle, preparation for the tough assignments likely to come next week.

“For sure, when you're winning too easily sometimes you have thoughts that, 'hey, if I'm leading 3-0 I'm going to win this set easily', and you kind of take everything for granted,” she said. “It’s natural.

“I'm trying not to do that when I'm leading. And also, it's good to have matches like that because it keeps you down-to-earth and you have to just be careful on every point and on every game.

“I'm just happy that I'm able to play really solid deciding balls and really solid in really important moments. That's the most important thing for me.”

Swiatek said she was looking forward to having her sports psychologist, Daria Abramowicz, onsite with the rest of the team in the second week and isn’t worried that any change in routine will upset her rhythm.

Iga Swiatek, Roland Garros 2021, third round© Philippe Montigny/FFT

“I’m trying to keep my routines the same way because that's why they're routines basically,” she said, with a smile.

“But Daria, she's been with me on many tournaments, most of them actually, so it's just easier to keep them. You don't have to worry about many things because she's the brain in our team.

“I guess it changes the chemistry in the team sometimes because we have two boys and two girls, but I like it both ways, so it doesn't really matter.”