Iga Swiatek has been the best women’s tennis player on the planet this year, but is her dominance over the rest of the WTA Tour coming to an end?
The world number one was stunned by Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia at the Canadian Open –– suffering her third defeat in her past six matches.
Haddad Maia beat the Polish star 6-4 3-6 7-5 to seal a spot in the quarter-finals and throw the draw in Toronto wide open.
“I think at the beginning I struggled to find my rhythm on the court,” Swiatek said after the match. “Probably because she’s lefty and I had a hard time adjusting to her serve. And plus the wind. I think without the wind I would manage. But it was pretty crazy out there.”
Meanwhile, Haddad Maia stressed that she was proud of her performance and was pleased with how she dealt with the occasion.
“I knew that I had to play my best tennis,” the Brazilian said. “And also she could beat me, even if I was playing well. So I was trying to play every single point without excuse. I was trying to forget about what I did wrong, about the mistakes, and just go for it. I was just trying to live in the present. To play point by point.
“The weather conditions we don’t control, we can’t control. So it’s not something that I can manage. So I need to deal with. And, yeah, I think I did a good mental job.”
Swiatek’s loss of form
After assuming the number one ranking from Ashleigh Barty earlier this year, Swiatek went on a remarkable run.
The Pole won six tournaments in succession and 37 matches in a row –– the longest streak of any WTA player this millennium.
This also included victory at the French Open as Swiatek secured her second Grand Slam title.
Yet, the 21-year-old was unable to win two majors on the bounce –– losing to France’s Alize Cornet in the third round at Wimbledon.
Swiatek then took a month off, before returning to play in front of a home crowd at the Poland Open.
While the Roland-Garros champ came through her first two matches comfortably, she then lost to fifth seed Caroline Garcia in three sets.
Though Swiatek’s number one ranking is in no danger, for the time being, her recent results do at least prove that she is beatable.
US Open chances
Regardless of her current form, Swiatek is almost certain to be seeded first for this year’s US Open if fit and it’s still hard not to consider her the tournament favourite.
The Pole is still regaining match sharpness after a period of time off and she has gone the distance in both of her recent defeats.
Added to this, nobody else in the world’s top 10 is in particularly stand-out form either.
World number two Anett Kontaveit suffered a first-round exit in Toronto, while fourth seed Paula Badosa was forced to retire in her opening encounter against Yulia Putintseva.
Therefore, Swiatek’s recent results should not hide the fact she remains the most complete player on Tour and is one of just three players in the world’s top 10 to win a major.
While she is by no means invincible anymore, she is still more than capable of claiming her third Grand Slam title in New York.