Iga Swiatek, embraced the pressure that could have easily consumed her and faced with her first major test of the French Open tournament she is so heavily favoured to win, recovered from a set down to defeat Zheng Qinwen 6-7(5), 6-0, 6-2 to reach the quarter-finals.
Swiatek has extended her run to 32 successive wins, which matches Justine Henin as the third longest sequence in the 21st century. She has now reached the quarter-finals in each of the past three years at Roland Garros.
During a brutal 87-minute opening set the 19-year-old Zheng went blow for blow with the world No 1, matching her physicality with her own immense defence, loading up the topspin on her heavy forehand and batting away break points with big serving. The effort of staying with the best player in the world for just a set, however, undid Zheng physically and she took a medical timeout for her leg early in the second set. Swiatek, meanwhile, responded to the missed set by simply elevating her level and playing cleanly until the end.
“She’s playing amazing tennis,” Swiatek said afterwards. “I’ve never had the chance to play against her, so I was surprised with some of her shots. Because, really, her topspin is amazing. Huge congrats to her.”
Swiatek will next face Jessica Pegula, the 11th seed, and the second highest-ranked player left in the tournament after herself. Pegula recovered from a set down to defeat Irina-Camelia Begu 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.
“It’s a tough tournament, a grand slam. It’s still a good result. I’m pretty happy that I could come back after a pretty frustrating set when I had a lead,” Swiatek said. “Just proud of myself that I’m still in the tournament.”
Daria Kasatkina, a former top‑10 player, returned to the last eight for the first time since 2018 with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Camila Giorgi. This may be a reflection of the Russian players making the most of the French Open as they will not be able to play at Wimbledon. She will now face her fellow neutral athlete Veronika Kudermetova, who beat Madison Keys 1-6, 6-3, 6-1.