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Iga Świątek asks French Open fans not to scream during points after thrilling win over Naomi Osaka

Iga Świątek asks French Open fans not to scream during points after thrilling win over Naomi Osaka

Photo Olympic/Noor Photo/Getty Images

Świątek came back from a break down in the final set to defeat Osaka.



CNN

I will heal you Criticize French Open Screaming crowd during points after her tense second round win over Naomi Osaka Wednesday.

Świątek, the defending champion at Roland Garros, trailed by a break in the deciding set and had to save a match point in an enthralling match with Osaka.

She eventually won 7-6 (7-1), 1-6, 7-5 on Court Philippe Chatrier, and then – unusually for a player known for her calm and reserved demeanor on court – scolded the crowd for distracting her during the big points.

“I have a lot of respect for you guys, and I know that we mainly play for you because this is for entertainment and we also make money because of you,” Świętek said in her on-court interview.

“But sometimes [we’re] Under a lot of pressure. When you’re shouting something during the walk or right before the return, it’s really hard to concentrate. This is dangerous for us, we fight all our lives to be better and better and sometimes it is difficult to accept that.

“The stakes are high and there is a lot of money here to win. Losing a few points could change a lot. Please, guys, if you could support us between the rallies but not during them, that would be really great.

Svetek, who is aiming to win her fifth Grand Slam title and fourth French Open, was cheered by the crowd as she delivered the message.

It was also surprising to see so many empty seats in a high-quality encounter between the current No. 1 and the former World No. 1, both of whom have four Grand Slam titles.

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“Osaka and Swiatek is a great match.” British Andy Murray was posted on X, adding that the sport should do more to promote the match.

This isn’t the first time the French Open crowd has been in the spotlight this week. Belgian player David Goffin said a spectator spat gum at him during his five-set win over Frenchman Giovanni Mbeche-Pericard.

Goffin told Belgian media: “Soon there will be smoke bombs, hooligans and fights in the stands.” Reuters. “It’s starting to get ridiculous. Some people are there more to cause trouble than to create an atmosphere.”

In a statement to CNN regarding the incident, a French Open spokesperson said: “The crowd is incredibly enthusiastic, especially on the outdoor courts. However, they must of course show full respect to all players while doing so.

“Supervisory bodies are in place to ensure that the rules are followed. Although it is natural for fans to share their enthusiasm and cheer for their favorite team, this may in no way conflict with the values ​​of tennis or the considerations of the players.

For her part, Osaka said that the atmosphere was “truly incredible” in her match against Swiatek, adding that she noticed “how much fun everyone in the audience was having.”

Jean-François Badias/AFP

Osaka plays a forehand against Światek.

The Japanese star returned to tennis this year after the birth of her daughter, and her time away from the sport has seen her fall out of the top 100 in the world rankings.

Many expected Świętek, who plays on her favorite clay court and has claimed back-to-back titles in Madrid and Rome, to comfortably beat Osaka, but that was far from the truth.

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The 22-year-old Polish player, who turns 23 on Friday, had the upper hand in the first set, winning 12 straight points to lead 3-1 before Osaka responded strongly and broke Światek’s serve 4-3 after she was 40 down. a point. -0 earlier in the match.

Światek had to save a match point at 5-4, then stormed out in the tiebreak and took the first set in an hour and nine minutes.

But the lead did not last long, as Osaka, hitting with power and accuracy, broke Swiatek three times in the second set to level the match.

Another break early in the final set set her on course for an upset victory over a very dominant player on clay, but a couple of costly misses at 5-3 – including a backhand winner on match point – helped keep Światek alive.

The defending champion rallied from there, claiming two breaks of serve and a thrilling victory in three hours and 13 minutes – despite Osaka’s impressive performance, which saw eight aces and 54 winners.

“It’s hard to have any logical thoughts because it was really intense and at a really high level,” Šwientek told reporters. “I had a big problem in the third set but somehow I managed to win that match.”

In her quest to become the first woman to win three consecutive French Open titles since Justine Henin in 2007, Švetic will face either Croatia’s Jana Vit or Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic in the third round.