‘Problem solving on grass’: Swiatek looks ahead to Wimbledon with opening win

BERLIN: With one eye on Wimbledon next month, world number one Iga Swiatek came from behind to win her first grass court match of the season at Bad Homburg yesterday.

Playing at the traditional SW19 warm-up tournament for the first time, the Pole defeated German world number 58 Tatjana Maria in three sets 5-7, 6-2, 6-0.

Maria broke Swiatek twice in the first set, taking advantage of a number of unforced errors from Swiatek.

The four-time Grand Slam winner however gained her composure ahead of the second, winning the next two sets while dropping just two games.

Swiatek was clearly looking forward to next week’s All England Club Grand Slam, which starts on July 3.

“She has a different game style,” Swiatek said of her “tricky” opponent.

“But I’m pretty glad that I figured it out, because I guess problem solving on grass is the most important thing.

“I really just wanted to look forward and think about what I could change.

“I know I have the game for that. I just had to find it a little bit.”

Swiatek thanked the fans including “a lot of Polish people as usual” for helping her comeback efforts.

The 22-year-old Swiatek has won three of the past five Grand Slam titles, including defending her French Open crown earlier in June.

Despite her strong form, she is yet to demonstrate her strengths consistently on grass, with a 7-5 career record on the surface.

Swiatek’s best mark at Wimbledon is 2021’s appearance in the fourth round, having made at least the semi-finals of every other major.

Swiatek will take on Jil Teichmann in the last 16.

Earlier on Monday, eighth seed Varvara Gracheva defeated Jaqueline Cristian in straight sets while fourth seed Mayer Sherif came from a set down to beat German Anna-Lena Friedsam.

Canadian fifth seed Bianca Andreescu overcame a tough three-set battle against Brit Sonay Kartal, while seventh seed Italian Elisabetta Cocciaretto was eliminated at the hands of unseeded Czech Katerina Siniakova.

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