French Open: Iga Swiatek through to Roland Garros last 16

By Jonathan JurejkoBBC Sport at Roland Garros
Iga Swiatek hits a return against Danka Kovinic in their French Open third-round match
Iga Swiatek has won her past 31 matches, not dropping a set in her past nine, after beating Danka Kovinic
French Open 2022
Dates: 22 May-5 June Venue: Roland Garros, Paris
Coverage: Live text and radio commentaries of selected matches across BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, the BBC Sport website and app

Hot favourite Iga Swiatek came through her toughest test yet to reach the French Open last 16 as the draw continued to open up for her in Paris.

The world number one beat Danka Kovinic of Montenegro 6-3 7-5.

While not reaching a level as high as her previous two victories, the 20-year-old from Poland still had too much quality for the world number 95.

She is now the sole top-10 seed left in the women's draw after exits by Aryna Sabalenka and Paula Badosa on Saturday.

Seventh seed Sabalenka was beaten 4-6 6-1 6-0 by Italian Camila Giorgi, while Spanish third seed Badosa retired injured while trailing Russian Veronika Kudermetova 6-3 2-1.

Swiatek will face Chinese world number 74 Zheng Qinwen in the fourth round.

The 2020 champion, who extended her winning streak to 31 matches, is yet to face a seeded player at Roland Garros this year.

"I wanted to play aggressively and sometimes I thought I was putting in too much power. Sometimes it was hard to control at full speed," said Swiatek, who had her serve broken three times by Kovinic.

"I tried to play with less pace and be more consistent in the rallies. She did a good job at defending, hitting back at full speed."

After rapid wins against Ukraine's Lesia Tsurenko and Alison Riske of the United States, the match against Kovinic required a little more problem solving.

The 27-year-old Montenegrin is an aggressive baseliner who managed to push Swiatek deeper on the court than her earlier opponents, forcing the top seed into making more mistakes than she previously had.

That first became evident in a second game where wayward hitting contributed to Swiatek not taking her first four break points.

The pressure eventually told on Kovinic as Swiatek did break and then led 3-0, although she did not run away with opening set as those watching on Court Philippe Chatrier would have imagined she might.

Four more unforced errors from her usually infallible forehand handed the break back to Kovinic for 4-3, but her ruthlessness returned to regain the lead in the next game and serve out the opening set.

There were more difficulties to overcome in the second set.

From trailing 4-1, Kovinic fought back with four games on the bounce - including two breaks - as she put pressure on Swiatek's second serve and reaped the rewards.

However, she lost serve at 5-5 from 30-0 and Swiatek served out the match to reach the second week of a Grand Slam event for the eighth time in the past nine majors.

Wildcard Jeanjean's run ended by Begu

China's Zheng - a girls' semi-finalist in Paris in 2019 - set up her fourth-round meeting with Swiatek after her French opponent Alize Cornet was forced to retire while trailing 6-0 3-0.

Elsewhere, wildcard Leolia Jeanjean's run at Roland Garros came to end in the third round as she was beaten 6-1 6-4 by Romania's Irina-Camelia Begu.

Jeanjean, ranked 227th in the world, had stunned eighth seed Karolina Pliskova in the previous round in what she called a win that would "change everything".

In reaching the third round, she had become first wildcard in 34 years to make the last 32 but slipped to 5-0 down in the first set.

Despite her dominant performance, Begu did not quite have it all her own way though as, when she led the second set 5-1, Jeanjean mounted a late comeback, winning three successive games and saving three match points before Begu clinched victory.

"In the end, I was shaking a little bit," said the world number 63, who is in the fourth round for the first time since 2016.

Russian former quarter-finalist Daria Kasatkina - competing under a neutral flag because of Russia's invasion of Ukraine - beat American Shelby Rogers 6-3 6-2, while American Jessica Pegula beat Tamara Zidansek 6-1 7-6 (7-2).

Madison Keys came back from a set down to beat Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan following a final set tie-break 3-6 6-1 7-6 (10-3). The American number 22 seed will face Kudermetova for a place in the last eight.

Who can stop Swiatek?

Never before has the number one ranked player been the only top-10 seed remaining in a Grand Slam draw going into the second week. Until Swiatek's march to the Roland Garros fourth round that is, leaving her with a seemingly simple route to a second French Open title.

In 2018, seventh seed Karolina Pliskova was the sole top-10 seed to reach the Wimbledon last 16, while third seed Marcelo Rios was the only one to reach the men's last 16 in Paris in 1998.

But who could stop Swiatek in her tracks as she seeks to win a sixth successive tournament?

Beat 19-year-old Zheng, who seems to be not overawed on her French Open debut, and the Pole will likely face 11th seed Pegula in the quarter-finals, a player who has beaten her before. That victory for the American came in Washington in 2019, although Swiatek levelled their head-to-head in the Miami semi-finals earlier this year.

Pegula has reached a clay final already this season, in which she lost to Ons Jabeur at the Madrid Open, while Jil Teichmann - who also remains in the Roland Garros draw - reached the semi-finals in the Spanish capital.

After Pegula, Canadian teenager Leylah Fernandez is the next highest ranked player left in the draw at 17th.

In the other half of the draw, the US Open runner-up takes on Amanda Anisimova - who reached the semi-finals in 2019 - next but win that one and she will take on an unseeded opponent in the last eight, and so a trip to the semi-finals beckons.

There Fernandez - who lost to Britain's Emma Raducanu in the US Open final last year - could meet fellow teenager Coco Gauff, who will be looking to improve on her quarter-final finish last year.

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