16-year-old Iga Swiatek makes a name for herself in Charleston

The young Pole played well at the ITF $80,000 event in May 2018

by Jovica Ilic
16-year-old Iga Swiatek makes a name for herself in Charleston
© Matthew Stockman / Staff

A four-time Major winner Iga Swiatek entered the top-10 in May 2021, standing as one of the most consistent players on the Tour and already earning ranking records. The young Pole made a name for herself in 2018, reaching the ITF $80,000 Charleston semi-final at 16!

Swiatek kicked off the 2018 season from outside the top-700, gathering experience at professional events. By April, Iga claimed two smaller pro titles, climbing the ranking list and entering Charleston as world no. 412. Charleston was Swiatek's second event above the $25,000 level, starting from the qualifications.

Iga showed her full potential on a har-tru clay, dropping 12 games in three matches and entering the main draw in style. Not stopping there, the 16-year-old delivered three commanding triumphs for a place in the semi-final, cracking the top-400 and announcing her arrival.

Iga met Emma Navarro, Mariana Duque-Marino and Irina Falconi in the opening three rounds. The Pole defeated them in under an hour and a half after dominating on serve and return, sailing into the last four for the seventh time in professional tournaments.

Swiatek dismantled Emma Navarro 6-0, 6-2 in the opening round, kicking off the main action with a bagel and emerging at the top with a strong performance in set number two. The 3rd seed Mariana Duque-Marino stood no chance in the second round, with a teenager scoring a 6-4, 6-2 victory.

Iga scored an extra break in the opener and left a better-ranked opponent behind in the second to hit the quarter-final. Iga needed 69 minutes to dismiss the 8th seed Irina Falconi 6-3, 6-1, moving into the semi-final after a rock-solid performance!

The young gun served at 46%, losing serve two times. Swiatek's return was mighty impressive, stealing 28 out of 43 points in Falconi's games and delivering six breaks from nine opportunities to control the scoreboard.

Iga Swiatek reached the ITF $80,000 semi-final in Charleston at 16 in 2018.

Irina saved two break points in the encounter's second game and stole her rival's serve in the following one to take an early lead.

Iga broke back at 15 in game four, leveling the score at 2-2 but still struggling behind the initial shot. Swiatek squandered four game points in the fifth game, facing four break chances and losing serve for the second time.

Swiatek was in a better mood on the return, earning a break at 15 in game six to erase her deficit and lock the result at 3-3. The Pole fended off two break chances in the seventh game, ending a poor run behind the initial shot and gaining a boost.

Swiatek delivered her third straight break in game eight, opening a 5-3 advantage and serving for the set. The 16-year-old held at 15 in the ninth game, taking the opener 6-3 and gaining a boost. After two easy holds at the start of the second set, Iga took charge and never looked back.

The Pole broke the American three straight times, rattling off the last six games and crossing the finish line to stay on the title course. Iga broke at love with a volley winner in game three and again at 3-1 when Irina's backhand landed long.

Swiatek sealed the deal with a backhand down the line winner in game seven, advancing into the last four in style. After six comfortable wins, the 16-year-old ran out of steam, taking only two games against the top seed Madison Brengle.

Iga clinched 47 WTA points and competed as a top-350 player at her next tournament in July. The Pole wrapped up the season in September, winning the $60,000 Montreux event and settling in the top-200 ahead of 2019.

Iga Swiatek Itf