Paris, Jun 10 (IANS): World No.1 Iga Swiatek defended her women's singles title in the French Open 2023, capturing a second consecutive Roland Garros title, and fourth Grand Slam crown overall, with a hard-fought 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 victory over a gritty Karolina Muchova here on Saturday.
Muchova of the Czech Republic fought back from 2-6, 0-3 down to make this an incredibly close final but it was the 22-year-old Swiatek who eked out the win in the end.
With this win, Poland's Swiatek bagged her third title in French Open adding to the crowns she bagged in 2020 and 2022 and the fourth Grand Slam overall with the U.S Open she won in 2022.
Muchova has won their only previous meeting, in Prague back in 2019. At the time, Muchova (who needed a wildcard to enter the tournament) was ranked No.109 while Swiatek, who reached the main draw via qualifying, was ranked No.95.
On Saturday, it was Swiatek who made a strong start, breaking Muchova in the Czech's first service game for a 2-0 advantage. The two-time Roland-Garros champion took the opening set 6-2 in 45 minutes. The Polish world No.1 won 74 per cent of her first-serve points throughout that set.
Muchova then rallied back from 0-3 down in the second set, breaking Swiatek's services. He broke for 5-4 to put herself in the position to serve for the second set but the World No.1 broke right back to level at 5-all.
A third consecutive game goes against serve as Muchova breaks Swiatek to inch ahead 6-5. But she could not be denied a second time.
From 2-6, 0-3 down, Muchova climbed her way back and took the 68-minute second set 7-5 to level the final and force a decider.
The momentum was clearly on Muchova's side as she broke at love in the first game of the deciding set and was soon serving at 2-1 against Swiatek.
Swiatek, who is an impressive 13-4 overall in singles finals, was back on serve as she steadied the ship and broke Muchova's serve to make it 2-2.
But Muchova was not done yet as she regained the lead again by breaking Swiatek's service again and inched ahead to 4-3. But Swiatek hit back again, in what was the 11th break of serve of the match and Muchova saved two break points but faltered on the third. Swiatek levelled scores again for 4-4.
The World No.1 could not be denied this time as she won the next two games and claimed the set 6-4, thus winning her third French Open title.