Tennis-Swiatek overcomes dip in form to secure 36th straight win


Tennis - Wimbledon - All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain - June 28, 2022 Poland's Iga Swiatek celebrates winning her first round match against Croatia's Jana Fett REUTERS/Hannah Mckay

LONDON (Reuters) -World number one Iga Swiatek recovered from a dip in her level in the second set to see off Croatian qualifier Jana Fett 6-0 6-3 in the Wimbledon first round on Tuesday and extend her winning run to 36 matches.

The 2018 junior champion, who exited the grasscourt Grand Slam in the fourth round last year, had the honour of opening the second day's play on Centre Court in the absence of the retired Ash Barty who won the 2021 title.

Playing her first match since winning a second French Open title this month, Poland's Swiatek powered through the opening set without losing a game -- registering a 6-0 set for the 17th time this year -- despite a stiff breeze swirling through the main show court.

A litany of unforced errors, including a double fault, however, led to Swiatek dropping serve at the start of the second set, allowing the 25-year-old Fett, ranked 252nd in the world, to get on the scoreboard.

Swiatek, who played with a ribbon in Ukrainian colours pinned to her cap as she did during her Roland Garros campaign, broke back immediately -- only to hand back the advantage in her next service game.

The Pole's struggles with her delivery continued as she had to save five break points to hold serve for the first time in the second set to get to 2-3 and stay in touch with Fett.

The hold seemed to spur on Swiatek and she won five games in a row to become the first women's player in the 21st century to win 36 consecutive matches.

She will meet British wildcard Sonay Kartal or Dutch lucky loser Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove for a place in the third round.

"It's my first match on grass this season so I knew it's going to be tricky," said the 21-year-old. "At the beginning of the second set I lost my focus little bit and she used that pretty well.

"I am pretty happy that I came back and I could finish in two sets. I am just figuring out how to play here and trying to implement all the stuff we were practising. It's pretty exciting, a new experience for me."

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; editing by Ed Osmond)

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