Poland's Iga Swiatek plays a shot against Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic during the women's ... [+]
World No. 1 Iga Swiatek has one big hero in the tennis world: Rafael Nadal.
And while Nadal could not defend his French Open title this year — his 14th Roland Garros crown — due to injury, Swiatek did her part to honor her hero.
The 22-year-old from Poland won her third Roland Garros title in four years (2020 and ‘22) and fourth major crown with a 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 victory over unseeded Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic.
Swiatek will take home about $2.5 million after improving to 4-0 in major finals. Muchova, a former Top 20 player currently ranked No. 43, earned $1,248,019 for reaching her first Grand Slam final.
Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic celebrates after scoring a point in the 12th game of the ... [+]
After being dominated in the first set and trailing 6-2, 3-0, Muchova fought back in the second, hitting a forehand winner down the line to break for 2-3 and then holding for 3-all.
Swiatek double-faulted to give Muchova a 5-4 lead and a chance to serve for the set. But Muchova showed her nerves and was broken right back for 5-all.
But Muchova broke back again and served for the set at 6-5. On her third set point, Muchova finally closed it out with a service winner to force a decisive third set.
In the decisive third set, Muchova broke in the first game and then served an ace to build a 2-0 lead.
Swiatek reeled off three straight games for a 3-2 lead, but Muchova cranked up her forehand and broke the world No. 1 for a 4-3 lead. Swiatek immediately broke back for 4-all when Muchova attempted a drop shot on break point that hit the net.
Swiatek held for 5-4 and then broke Muchova, winning the match with a double-fault into the net.
Muchova clinched her first spot in a Grand Slam final by saving a match point to stun No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka 7-6(5), 6-7(5), 7-5 in a 3-hour, 13-minute instant classic in Thursday’s semifinals.
That was fifth win against top-3 players, four coming in majors. She’s now 5-1 against such players.
Swiatek, meantime, had been rolling, including a straight-sets win over American Coco Gauff in the quarters that marked a rematch of last year’s final.
Now with another French Open title, she solidified her position as the world No. 1 heading into Wimbledon next month.