On-point Swiatek breezes into Indian Wells 3rd round
It takes more than unexpectedly windy weather to knock world No. 1 Iga Swiatek off course.
The 21-year-old from Warsaw made little mistake when she received her bid to repeat the rare Indian Wells title and got off to a brilliant start on Saturday with a 6-0, 6-1 win over American No. 56 Claire Liu. .
“Of course, I’m happy with the performance,” Swiatek said. “It was a really good match and I’m happy with how I adjusted to the wind because it wasn’t that windy when we practiced.
“Tactically and in terms of tennis, everything was on top.”
Swiatek lost only seven points in the first set, which lasted 28 minutes.
“When you have this figure, sometimes the energy level can drop a little,” she admitted.
“It helped a little in the second set at the end. So, yes, I knew what I had to do. I just came back with a more intense game.
“I’ve had so many matches in the last couple of weeks that I know what to do.”
Indeed, even with Swiatek’s slight failure, the second set was far from a close game.
But Liu saved match point when she finally held a serve in the penultimate game, and the crowd roared as she landed a right hand wide of Swiatek in the game.
This brought a relieved smile from the American, but Swiatek won the next game in the 65th minute.
The victory brought her one step closer to becoming the second woman, after Martina Navratilova in 1990 and 1991, to win back-to-back Indian Wells titles.
Her triumph in the California desert last year was part of a race that Swiatek won in Doha, Dubai, Indian Wells and Miami.
This year, after a shock run to the round of 16 at the Australian Open, she defended her title in Doha and reached the final in Dubai.
This week, according to Swiatek, she is enjoying her return to California and the warm welcome from the fans.
“I feel it especially when I’m warming up and when I get close to the fan zone it’s pretty crazy and I definitely like it.
“On the other hand, I want to stay in my zone sometimes. It’s easier to do it in a match because everyone expects it from you.
“Off the court, I try to balance it out a bit to give the fans what they want. I appreciate their support.”