«Roland Garros»: Chivontec is playing for a historic title against Mokhova
Polish world champion Iga Schwyntek seeks to become the first woman to successfully defend her title in Paris in 16 years, when she faces Czech Karolina Mukhova, who surprisingly reached the final of the Roland Garros tournament, for the second tennis tournament.
Chiwentek is competing for a third title in the French Championship in 4 years, and a fourth in the Grand Slam, after winning the US Open in 2022.
The 22-year-old did not lose a set in this tournament, but she will be wary of her Czech opponent, who knocked out second-seeded Belarusian Arina Sabalenka in the semi-finals, after she achieved “Remontada” in the decisive third set after trailing 2-5.
By defeating Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia in the quarter-finals, and Sabalenka’s shocking loss, Chiviontec ensured they remained at the top of the world rankings ahead of entering the grass court tournament this season.
The Polish woman is the youngest woman since American Monica Seles in the early 1990s to reach 3 finals at the French Open, while Muchova, ranked 43rd, has become the fourth-lowest-ranked player to reach the Parisian final.
In 2020, Chivontec, who was only 19 years old, was in 54th place in the world rankings, when she won the Roland Garros title, 3 years after the surprise victory of Latvian Jelena Ostapenko. Muchova’s compatriot, Renata Tomanova, was the runner-up in the 1976 tournament.
Chivontec’s career is still in its infancy, but it has begun to impose its dominance on the Roland Garros championship, which has been associated more with Spain’s Rafael Nadal, who won her title 14 times.
And the Polish woman said, “Rafa, what he did and continues to do, is very amazing. I never knew it would be possible for me. So it was completely out of the way, if I may say so. And he is still playing well for many years, I don’t know if that is possible for me.
And with a record of 27 wins and two losses at Roland Garros, Chiviontec would be the favorite, but Muchova won all five matches in her career against players in the top three, 4 of them in Grand Slam tournaments.
“It’s amazing,” said the 26-year-old. I didn’t really know about this statistic. It just shows me that I can play against them.
The Czech came back from a set down to beat then-top seed Ashleigh Barty in the quarter-finals of the 2021 Australian Open, showing her talent at the confrontational level in a career hampered by injuries.
Mokhova was once among the top 20 players in the world rankings, but an abdominal problem kept her out of action for 7 months in 2021, while she left the French Open last year in a wheelchair after suffering an ankle injury.
Until last September, it was ranked outside the top 200 list.
“There were many moments, many lows, from one injury to the next,” Mukhova said.
“Certainly, when I missed the Australian Open last year, and I was in very poor health, I was working a lot to try to come back,” added the Czech, who comes from a sports family, as her father and brother play football.
And the young woman, who admires the American singer Beyoncé, continued, while playing the guitar: “Some doctors told me, you know, that I may not exercise again. But I always kept positive thoughts in my mind, and tried to work and do all the exercises to be able to return.
This will be the fifth time in a row that the Roland Garros tournament has seen a player play the final for the first time, and only the second time that Mukhova and Chivontec have faced each other.
Their only previous meeting was in Prague in 2019, when Mukhova won in 3 sets against Chiviontec, who reached the main draw qualifiers.
“I honestly like the way she plays, I really respect her, I feel like a player who can do anything,” said Chivontec. It has a great touch. It can also speed up the game. She plays with that kind of freedom in her movements. And she has great technology.”
As for Mokhova, who loves reading elite and educational books and drinking tea, she said after Sabalenka’s exclusion: “In the past, it was not easy. This is what makes me appreciate this result even more now, because I know what I went through in the past.
And she added, “To be in a Grand Slam final now is definitely my dream. I am so happy to be here. I enjoy being at the top now.”