Swiatek's exit means Wimbledon title is up for grabs

Iga Swiatek’s shocking third-round exit from Wimbledon means the women’s title is very much up for grabs – with only two top 10 players left in the final 16

  • No 1 seed Iga Swiatek was stunningly knocked out of Wimbledon in the third round by Alize Cornet
  • Swiatek’s exit followed Coco Gauff’s elimination to remove a host of big names 
  • Only two top 10 players are in the last 16, leaving a huge opportunity for the remaining women

The world was a very different — and more peaceful — place the last time Iga Swiatek last lost a tennis match.

It was mid-February in Dubai and, whatever else has been going on, amid the trivial pursuit of tennis the No 1 seed from Poland has been winning ever since.

On Saturday her 37-match streak was snapped at Wimbledon by 32-year-old French veteran Alize Cornet when she was ousted 6-4, 6-2.

Iga Swiatek’s shock exit from Wimbledon in the third round has left the tournament wide open

Swiatek (right), the No 1 seed, was stunned in straight sets by France’s Alize Cornet (left)

With Coco Gauff having been beaten earlier in the day, it left the women’s draw further denuded of big names, and there is a huge opportunity for someone out there in the coming week. 

Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur is the highest-ranked player remaining, while there are only two left in with experience of having won a Major, Simona Halep and Jelena Ostapenko.

Even by the open standards of the present day women’s game it looks wide open, with only two top-10 players left among the last 16.

Swiatek is the latest player to discover that winning the French Open and Wimbledon back to back is phenomenally difficult, despite having almost forgotten how to lose. 

Swiatek’s exit was preceded by American sensation Coco Gauff losing to Amanda Anisimova

Tired and sore after Paris, she did not play a preparatory tournament and admitted that she could never find the right balance between defence and attack, getting stuck somewhere in between.

By the end of this match she looked rather nonplussed about the whole idea of playing on grass.

‘Let’s just say that I didn’t feel like I’m in the best shape,’ she said. ‘So I was kind of aware that this could happen.

‘Maybe it’s not the right attitude to have, but it is like it is. I tried many things to feel better on court but it didn’t work out, that’s why I’m not even hard on myself.’

Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur is the highest ranked player remaining in the final 16 of the women’s draw

Her misfortune was to come up against someone who knows how to execute an upset at Wimbledon. In 2014, again on Court 1, Cornet defeated Serena Williams. The French player has been contemplating her future, and had a novel published earlier this year.

In the meantime she has set an admirable record for a woman making consecutive appearances in the Majors, this being her 62nd in succession, going all the way back to early 2007. In only one of those, January’s Australian Open, has she made the quarter-finals.

She described herself as maturing like fine French wine. ‘This record was something that meant a lot to me,’ she said. ‘Now making the second week while having it is even better. It shows I still have some amazing things to give.

Former Wimbledon champion Simona Halep, who won in 2019, could be one to keep an eye on

‘Beating Iga feels like a dream. It’s crazy because it’s the same scenario as eight years ago against Serena. Third round on Court 1 against the world No 1. I did it again.’

The reverie could go further, because there will not be a woman left in the fourth round who will not have thoughts of the title.

If you were looking for someone who knows how to do it then that would be 2019 champion Halep. One of the lesser known names to keep an eye on — and there are a few of them — is Elena Rybakina, of Kazakhstan.

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