Roland Garros final: Will Jasmine Paolini upset Iga Swiatek?

Iga Swiatek
Mal Taam/MALT photo

Who would have thought that Jasmine Paolini have reached the final at a Grand Slam? Over the past 10 years, she wasn’t close, but finally, she started to try to hit the ball, much harder. And she made it, beating Mirra Andreeva 6-3, 6-1, a quick day in the semis. She was sprinting, left and right, into the corners, and back. Anytime she had a chance to rip it, she did, most of the time, because Andreeva threw in some many errors. Perhaps she was sick, but she was totally out of it.

Now, though, Paolini  has to face against the No. 1 Iga Swiatek, who is totally on fire. She won Madrid, Rome, and over the past 13 days at Roland Garros, she has been so intense, on the court. In the semis, Swiatek beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4, pretty clean. Yes, Gauff had a small change to win in the second set, but Swiatek just hammered it with his  forehand. Plus, while Gauff has improved substantial, but her second serve and her forehand was spotty, at best. Yet Swiatek is much more calm, during the matches, and plus, she wants to attack, anytime she wants to. During the match, she can change her direction. 

On Saturday, she has one four Grand Slams. Another? Perhaps.

“After the tournament it usually hits me what I achieved, but during it, I feel like I just need to play another match,” said Swiatek. “Sometimes, it’s hard not to see what’s at stake and what the atmosphere is around these matches. I’m not used to it. It’s not the routine. On the other hand, when I’m focused on work, I can make it a routine because that’s easier to do.”

The Italian Paolini will have to play 100 percent, and make sure that  Swiatek will slam it, early. Even a few years ago, Paolini lost a lot, maybe because she pushed the ball, when it was close. This year, though, she knew that she had to rise up, risky of not. 

The 28-year-old Paolini said that she needed to change, and better, to everyone. “Often, I heard, ‘You play well’ and ‘You could do more. You can get good results,” she said, who is now ranked No. 7. “You could do great things.’ But I never really believed it deep down, which is something that has changed lately. The on-court results are something tangible, more concrete, to me than someone telling me, ‘You can do great things.’ It helps to win more matches — or even lose ones that were hard-fought against strong opponents.”

While Paolini has had a terrific tournament at Roland Garros, but with the Polish person on court, she will be very stable. Because if that, Swiatek will win it in straight sets, quickly.