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French Open 2024: Swiatek survives Osaka scare on rain-hit day

Iga Swiatek tennis news

Iga Swiatek, top seed and two-time defending champion at the French Open, survived a second-round clash against Naomi Osaka by the skin of her teeth on Wednesday.

The world No.1 had to save a match point en route to the third round, defeating Osaka 7-6 (1), 1-6, 7-5 in just under three hours on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

Osaka, who has returned to the WTA Tour after giving birth to her first child last year, played her best tennis in years. The Japanese star struck eight aces, 54 winners, and broke Swiatek on five occasions.

Heading into the match, Swiatek was an enormous -2500 favourite to win, paying just -175.44 with top tennis bookmakers to lift her third Roland-Garros trophy.

However, with a 5-2, 30-0 lead in the deciding set, it seemed as though Osaka was going to pull off the biggest upset of the tournament so far. Swiatek fought her off, but Osaka had her chances, with a match point at 5-3 on her own serve.

Swiatek unhappy with crowd behaviour

There were some understandably tense moments in the second-round clash, causing members of the audience to call out during points.

This drew the ire of Swiatek, with the Pole unafraid to speak out and reprimand the Parisian crowd afterwards.

“I wanna say one thing, I’m sorry to even bring that,” Swiatek said in her post-match interview.

“I have huge respect for you guys, and I know that we are playing basically for you because this is entertainment, and we are also earning money because of you.

“But sometimes, you know, when you’re under a lot of pressure and you scream something during the rally or right before the return, it’s really, really hard to be focused.

“I usually don’t bring this up because I want to be this kind of player that is really in the zone and really focused.

“But this is serious for us, we’re fighting our whole lives to be better and better and sometimes it’s hard to accept that.

“The stakes are big, and there’s a lot of money here to win. Losing a few points may change a lot.

“Please guys, if you can support us between the rallies but not during, that would be really, really amazing.”

Surprisingly, the French crowd responded well to Swiatek’s request, giving the 22-year-old a hearty round of applause.

Whether or not her message was taken on board remains to be seen, with Swiatek next playing at the French Open on Friday against either Jana Fett or Marie Bouzkova in the third round.

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