'Confident' Swiatek sets Gauff rematch

The world No.1 has dropped just nine games through four rounds in Paris

Iga Swiatek, Roland-Garros 2023, fourth round, behind the scenes© Corinne Dubreuil/FFT
 - Chris Oddo

A change in venue did little to derail world No.1 Iga Swiatek on Monday evening in Paris.

The two-time champion took her talents out to Court Suzanne-Lenglen for the first time this year, and was swiftly taking the play to Ukraine's Lesia Tsurenko in the first set when the 34-year-old was forced to retire due to illness while trailing 1-5 in the first set.

Swiatek's victory stretches the 22-year-old's Roland-Garros winning streak to 11, and improves her lifetime record on the Parisian clay to 25-2.

Remarkably, Swiatek has reached the quarter-finals while dropping just nine games and spending 4:04 on the court. The rested and ready Pole will take on last year's runner-up Coco Gauff in quarter-final action next.

Brutal decision for Tsurenko

It was a tough outing for Tsurenko, who saw the trainer after the fifth game against Swiatek, and was forced to retire a game later.

The Ukrainian later told reporters that she started to feel symptoms of her illness before her third-round win over Bianca Andreescu on Saturday. Unable to shake free of her illness, she felt considerably worse on Monday.

"It was tough for me," Tsurenko said. "I could not practise yesterday, and today it was tough for me to warm up - I had to stop because it was not the way I wanted to be on court and to play tennis for sure."

For her part, Swiatek struck the ball with authority while the contest lasted. Every stroke an explosion, she attacked the lines, cracking five winners and forcing eight errors off the racquet of Tsurenko.

"I felt pretty confident," the top seed told reporters. "So overall, I'm happy with the performance, but of course it's not nice to finish a match like that. So I hope Lesia is going to be okay and she'll recover quickly."

Iga Swiatek, Lesia Tsurenko, Roland-Garros 2023, fourth round© Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

Coco challenge awaits

Next up for the 22-year-old Pole, a rematch of last year's final with American Coco Gauff.

The Pole won that match-up last year, 6-1, 6-3, and has since defeated the American three more times to improve her lifetime record against the world No.6 to 6-0. Swiatek has never lost a single set against Gauff, and only twice in their 12 lifetime sets has she dropped more than three games.

"This is a totally different year, totally different tournament," Swiatek warned. "I have to be ready regardless of what happened last year."

Gauff knows she has a tall task in front of her, but she is still working to try to solve Swiatek's dominance over her.

Coco Gauff & Iga Swiatek / Finale dames 2022©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

"I have to rewatch that match because I don't think I've played her on clay since, I've played her on other surfaces," the American said. "I don't know if the surface will matter that much. So I will rewatch some previous matches to see where I've gone wrong."

Two-time Roland-Garros champion Swiatek will have experience on her side on multiple levels when she meets Gauff. Not only has she dominated her rival, she has been nearly invincible against the rest of the field at the Slams, going 28-3 since the start of 2022.

"I remember my first Grand Slams that I played when I was in fourth round I was already exhausted, like mentally and physically, maybe because of my level - mentally, every match cost me a lot," said Swiatek.

"But right now I'm able to process it a little bit better. In the first part of the tournament I think it's pretty important to keep the power for the next rounds."