World No. 1 Iga Swiatek has made a triumphant start to her Australian Open title quest as the Pole saw off 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin.
Four years ago, Swiatek, now 22, became a Grand Slam champion after beating Kenin in the 2020 French Open final. In a rematch of the 2020 French Open final, Swiatek again ended on the winning side as the top-seeded Pole defeated world No. 41 Kenin 7-6 (2) 6-2.
In her next match, Swiatek will be taking on Danielle Collins, who defeated Angelique Kerber. In 2022, Swiatek was beaten by Collins in the Australian Open semifinal.
However, a lot has changed since then as Swiatek is now a much more improved player and widely regarded as the best player in the women's game.
How Swiatek beat Kenin to set up a Collins clash?
Swiatek made a slow start to the match, dropping her serve in the third game of the match. In the sixth game, Swiatek managed to get back into the set and break back Kenin to tie the first set to three games apiece.
Just when it seemed Swiatek was starting to find her game and rhythm, the Pole missed out on a break point in the eighth game before getting broken again in the seventh game. Inches away from losing the first set, Swiatek managed to get the break back in the 10th game.
Leading 6-5 up, Swiatek had a set point on Kenin's serve but didn't realize as Kenin managed to serve out the game and force a tie-break. What was a pretty tight first set until that point, ended with a pretty one-sided tie-break as Swiatek led 3-2 in the tie-break before winning the next four points to clinch the opener.
After winning the first set, Swiatek faced a break point early in the second set, but was able to save it in the second game and avoid going down by an early break. Through the opening three games, Kenin was 2-1 up but without breaks. Then, Swiatek put it in another gear and won the next five games to complete a two-set win over Kenin in style.
Going into the match against 62nd-ranked Collins, Swiatek is the big favorite to win. Since losing to Collins in the 2022 Australian Open semifinal, Swiatek has won the last three meetings against the American.