The French Open had plenty of exciting storylines to follow, with the women’s bracket showing up and showing out. Just Women’s Sports has three takeaways from Roland-Garros as attention shifts away from clay and towards the grass.
Coco Gauff advanced to her first Grand Slam final at Roland Garros, capping off a month in which she also graduated high school.
She also appears to have graduated to another level of play.
In the singles bracket, Gauff didn’t drop a set en route to the championship match. Her only stumbling block was Swiatek, who sits No. 1 in the world and is on a 35-match winning streak. Since her finals loss, Gauff has risen 10 spots in the world rankings to a career-high No. 13.
“I feel like throughout my career, and even in juniors, the reason I had success so early is that I was able to see that level and then go back and practice and try to reach that level,” Gauff said after the final singles match.
“Now that I have seen the level, this level of No.1 and 35 matches [won in a row], I know what I have to do,” she said. “I’m sure I’m going to play her in another final and hopefully it’s a different result.”
Admittedly, Gauff’s mindset around the big matches has changed, which she says is a big contributor to her success. She handled her first major final like a pro.
“In the match it probably looked like I was freaking out, but really it was just Iga was too good,” Gauff said. “I wasn’t freaking out. So I think the moment, I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I was going to be.”
Entering the French Open, there was no question about Iga Swiatek’s dominance since she ascended to the world No. 1 ranking. En route to her second title in three years at Roland Garros, Swiatek dropped just one set.
While there was no doubt that she would keep her current ranking, she’s only solidified her grip on No. 1. With 8,631 points, she has a 4,305-point lead on second-ranked Anett Kontaveit.
With a 35-match winning streak, Swiatek has bested Serena Williams and tied with Venus Williams for the longest streak since 2000. The Polish player will forever have her name etched into the history books.
The only question that remains is what could have happened if the Swiatek of right now had the chance to go up against Ash Barty, who retired after her dominant Australian Open win.
“I do,” Swiatek told the Guardian when asked if she wished she could play Barty right now. “I was thinking about that yesterday. I would love to be in a better shape than I was when I was playing against her, just have more variety and more abilities and to win against Ash. That would be great.”
French Open director Amelie Mauresmo made headlines when she said that women’s tennis has less “appeal” than men’s tennis in attempting to defend the decision to schedule just one women’s match across 10 night sessions.
Following criticism from both fans and players, Mauresmo walked her comments back, apologizing to the players and saying that she was taken out of context. She said on the Tennis Channel that it was about whether or not it was “fair to ticketholders” to put a three-set women’s match in the night spot versus a five-set men’s match.
“I feel that it’s really tougher to schedule a women’s match because we have to take into consideration the length [of the matches],” she said, adding that next year they may look into having two matches at night “or maybe a women’s match plus a doubles match.”
On average, best-of-three matches last 90 minutes, while best-of-five matches can last around 2 hours and 45 minutes. But questions about the length of men’s matches – and whether or not they’re too long – have also risen. The night match between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic went until past 1 a.m. – long after public transportation had stopped running.
Meanwhile, the women’s bracket had Swiatek – who wasn’t awarded a night match – and her winning streak. Gauff and her incredible run. Some high-profile upsets – including Amanda Anisimova over Naomi Osaka in the first round.
No matter the length of the matches, the women seemed ready for prime time.