Polish teenager Iga Swiatek sauntered past Nadia Podoroska 6-2, 6-1 at the French Open to reach her first Grand Slam final on Thursday.
The 19-year-old became the youngest women’s finalist at Roland Garros since Kim Clijsters, who was 18 at the time, in 2001.
“I’m kind of surprised! I never thought before the tournament I would play so well,” Swiatek said in an on-court interview with former player Fabrice Santoro. “But I always knew that if I was going to make a final of a Grand Slam, it would be the French Open.”
She is also the first Polish woman to reach the Roland Garros final in 81 years and the first at any major since Agnieszka Radwanska at Wimbledon eight years ago.
The World No.53, who is also into the doubles semifinals along with Nicole Melichar, hadn’t lost a set and conceded only 20 games in her five matches prior to her final-four clash. She maintained that run of form, powering past Podoroska in 70 minutes.
Saturday’s final @rolandgarros between 21yo 🇺🇸 Sofia Kenin and 19yo 🇵🇱 Iga Swiatek is the 1st Slam final between two 21-and-unders since 2008 Australian Open (20yo Sharapova d. 20yo Ivanovic).
— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) October 8, 2020
The sensational Swiatek, who crushed top seed Simona Halep 6-1, 6-2 in the fourth round, has now broken her opponent’s 32 times, including five against the Argentine, in this tournament.
“I wanted to play this match as a first-round match, I didn’t want to think of it as a semi-final otherwise I would have been too stressed,” said the 19-year-old. “I just wanted to be aggressive like previous matches. I’m feeling good and like nothing hurts me.”
Swiatek hit 23 winners in the type of commanding performance that has become her custom over the past fortnight.
World number 131 Podoroska, who was looking to become the first qualifier to reach a final at a major in either the men’s or women’s singles draw, had no answer to her opponent’s powerful groundstrokes and sleek movement on court.
In the final, she will meet the 21-year-old Sofia Kenin, who defeated Petra Kvitova 6-4, 7-5. This will be the American’s second major final this year after she started the year with a surprising title win at the Australian Open.