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Tennis: Swiatek wins third consecutive French Open 

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RUTHLESS Iga Swiatek was crowned Queen of Clay for the third time in a row – after dropping just THREE GAMES.Once more Roland Garros was turned into Poland Garros as the Warsaw-born Swiatek maintained her grip on the French Open women’s singles title in Paris.
A dominant 6-2 6-1 victory over first-time Slam finalist Jasmine Paolini of Italy was all over in a 68-minute masterclass.
Overall, this was her fourth success in five visits to the French capital and she banks £2million for her efforts this past fortnight.
The other women to enjoy a three-peat on Parisian clay in the Open Era were Monica Seles (1990-92), once of Yugoslavia and then the United States, and Belgian Justine Henin (2005-07).
Paolini, a surprise finalist, won just three games out of 15.
That is the fewest number of games conceded by Swiatek in her five major finals, four at the French Open and her 2022 US Open victory.
After heavy rain disrupted the first week and saw this event christened the ‘Drench Open’, the sun was shining for this finals weekend and the roof was open on Court Philippe-Chatrier.
Summer hats and sunscreen were required in the posh seats but the question everyone was asking pre-match was: How long would this actually last? And how many games would Swiatek lose?
Some felt it could be all over within an hour especially as newbie Paolini had never been beyond the fourth round of a Slam before this tournament.
Paolini, 28, avoided getting bagelled in the first set as she held her first service game.
But even that was a struggle and she faced a break point despite being 40-0 up.
Surprisingly, Swiatek was broken in game three by the tenacious No12 seed when her forehand sailed long.
Yet that only seemed to fire up the world No1, who won the next FIVE games in a row to claim the first set in 34 minutes, dropping only FOUR points along the way.
The crowd – and there was a large number of empty seats – realised they were watching a straightforward procession to the title.
Italian fans in the crowd, particularly those wearing the national colours of green, white and red, tried their damnest to encourage Paolini.
But breaks of serve by Swiatek in games two and four of the second set helped her to cruise to another triumph on her favourite surface and on her most-treasured court.
Seven-time winner Chris Evert and double champion Martina Navratilova – who formed one of the great rivalries within tennis – handed out the trophies.
Swiatek, who is a shy, introvert character, struggled to talk during her ceremony speech but acknowledged she survived a match point in her second-round classic with Naomi Osaka.
She said: “It is amazing to be here. I love this place. I wait every year to come back here.
“I was almost out of the tournament in the second round. Thank you guys for standing by my back and cheering for me. I had to believe this was possible.
“It has been a really emotional tournament.”
Paolini, who will compete in Sunday’s doubles final, said: “I enjoyed playing on this court.
“To play Iga here is the toughest challenge in this sport. You and your team are doing an amazing job.
“It has been ten to 15 days that I’ve been here. Very intense. But the best days of my life. This was tough.”

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