Tennis-Grand Slam 'normal' for Swiatek as Pole downs Dart

  • Tennis
  • Tuesday, 18 Jan 2022

Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - January 18, 2022 Poland`s Iga Swiatek in action during her first round match against Britain's Harriet Dart REUTERS/James Gourley

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Seventh seed Iga Swiatek made a stuttering start to her Australian Open campaign in the Melbourne sun on Tuesday but was soon into her Grand Slam groove to reach the second round for the fourth straight year.

The former French Open champion had to battle back from an early break to oust Briton Harriet Dart 6-3 6-0 on Rod Laver Arena and set up a second round clash with Swede Rebecca Peterson.

"You could see that first few games were pretty tricky for me. With the sun, I know I got broken in my second service game," she said.

"I'm pretty happy that I was patient, I found the rhythm throughout the match. That's pretty positive."

Swiatek split with long-time coach Piotr Sierzputowski at the end of last year and has teamed up with Tomasz Wiktorowski for this trip.

Swiatek said Wiktorowski, who previously mentored former world number two Agnieszka Radwanska, had quickly understood the kind of relationship she wanted with a coach.

"Just be open-minded and maybe be sometimes patient because I like to discuss a lot," she added.

"I'm not that kind of person who just listens and does stuff. I always have my opinion. I like to say it ... I'm pretty happy that he understands that."

Still only 20, Swiatek has an enviable Grand Slam record even if you disregard her stunning 2020 triumph at Roland Garros and has reached at least the fourth round at all but one of her last seven majors.

Swiatek arrived in Australia last year under a huge weight of expectation after winning her first Grand Slam crown and conceded it had initially bothered her.

"I was like, 'Hey, it's not working out. I'm thinking about French Open. I don't know if I'm going to get through this'," she recalled.

"(But) when the Grand Slam started and I played in the Australian Open, I came back to normal. So it went pretty smoothly for me."

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney, Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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