Swiatek marches on in French Open quest
Iga Swiatek's quest to win a second French Open title continued as she progressed into the fourth round with a 6-3 7-5 defeat of Danka Kovinic.
Playing early on Court Philippe-Chatrier on Saturday, the top seed ultimately got past the world No.95 Kovinic in straight sets, though the Montenegrin did not go down without a fight.
Kovinic took all three break points that Swiatek offered up, with two of those coming in the second set, halting what seemed set to be a procession for the favourite.
It has been over 100 days since Swiatek last lost a match, but the Pole temporarily lost her composure as Kovinic reeled off four straight games to go from 4-1 down to 5-4 up.
The final game of Kovinic's streak was settled by a poor Swiatek backhand into the net as the 20-year-old saw the momentum swing the way of her opponent, who was frustrating the world No.1 with some sublime drop shots.
Swiatek responded in the next game by holding to 15, and a stray forehand from Kovinic then handed the 2020 champion a break and the chance to serve out the match.
It was an opportunity Swiatek grasped, and though Kovinic fended off the first match point with a powerful forehand, a return straight into the net confirmed her exit.
Coco Gauff, the youngest woman left in the draw, knocked out the oldest as she beat Kaia Kanepi in straight sets.
Gauff, 18, swept aside the 36-year-old Estonian - who turned professional five years before the American was born - 6-3 6-4.
Gauff, who served six aces alongside five double-faults, has not dropped a set in her first three matches.
The No.18 seed will now face Belgium's Elise Mertens, the No.31 seed, as she attempts to match last year's run to the quarter-finals.
Fellow teenager Leylah Fernandez is also through, the 19-year-old Canadian beating Olympic gold medallist Belinda Bencic 7-5 3-6 7-5.
Karolina Muchova was in tears, however, as she was forced to retire from her match against Amanda Anisimova.
The luckless Czech has been plagued by injuries for almost a year and a half, but looked back to her best after knocking out fourth seed Maria Sakkari in round two.
But having taken the first set against the American 27th seed, and with the score at 2-2 in the second, Muchova slipped and twisted her ankle.
The 2021 Australian Open semi-finalist did not win another game and was tearfully forced to call it a day at 0-3 in the third.
Angelique Kerber, the No.21 seed, will have to wait another year if she is to complete her set of grand slam titles after going out in straight sets to Emma Raducanu's conqueror, Aliaksandra Sasnovich.
Kerber, 34, was beaten 6-4 7-6 (7-5) in 89 minutes.
Former US Open champion Sloane Stephens beat French teenager Diane Parry 6-2 6-3.
Stephens will play No. 23 seed Jil Teichmann, who defeated two-time grand slam champion Victoria Azarenka 4-6 7-5 7-6 (7-5).
Irina-Camelia Begu has meanwhile been fined the equivalent of $14,000 after she threw her racquet and it bounced off the clay and into the stands during a match.
The 31-year-old Romanian was cited for unsportsmanlike conduct during her victory against Ekaterina Alexandrova on Thursday.
After dropping a point, Begu walked to the sideline and chucked her racquet, which flew behind the chair umpire Anis Ressaissi. It landed among spectators on Court 13. There were gasps from fans and a child could be heard crying.
Tournament referee Remy Azemar said the equipment "brushed a young spectator," who "turned out to be OK".
- with AP and DPA
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