French Open: Iga Swiatek starts slow but picks up pace in 1R win over Cristina Bucsa

On the eve of her 22nd birthday, Swiatek had to get cracking against the 70th-ranked Bucsa

by Abbey Johnson
French Open: Iga Swiatek starts slow but picks up pace in 1R win over Cristina Bucsa

Iga Swiatek’s title defence at the French Open began with a 6-4, 6-0 win over Cristina Bucsa on Tuesday event. The Pole took an hour and 13 minutes to make her way to the second round. The start of the match was quite slow for Swiatek, who was also making her way back from an unexpected injury derailment.

Two weeks ago, the world no. 1 had to retire in her semi-final against Elena Rybakina at the Italian Open in Rome with an injury to her thigh. Swiatek’s hesitancy all throughout the first set served as a reminder that perhaps the top seed wasn’t trying to push herself physically in the first round itself.

French Open: Iga Swiatek's relentlessness endures

However, hesitation or not, Swiatek’s shot-making was thoroughly erroneous across the first set even as it was Bucsa who seized the momentum in her favour. The Spaniard broke Swiatek twice consecutively, in the third and fifth games but wasn’t able to protect her own serve or direct her shots inside the court margin.

After the seventh game of the set, Swiatek had held her serve only twice and had also had three double faults. The set – and the match – shifted in Swiatek’s favour from the 10th game onwards. Bucsa’s serve came under pressure once again and a couple of forced errors later, Swiatek had secured the set for herself along with the lead in the match.

As if gaining in confidence from this development, Swiatek played with more initiative in the second set. She came inside the court to take the shots early and alongside scoring plenty of winners, also drew out the errors from her opponent.

Swiatek also didn’t face any break points in the second set but converted three of four break point chances she had. Both players had 19 unforced errors each but Swiatek had only four of these in the second set as compared to her opponent’s nine.

For the match, the twice Roland Garros winner had 19 winners to Bucsa’s five. Iga Swiatek, who will celebrate her 22nd birthday on the 31st May will now play either qualifier Ylena In-Albon of Switzerland or American Claire Liu in the round-of-64 of the French Open. Photo Credit: WTA Twitter

French Open Iga Swiatek Cristina Bucsa