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Poland’s Iga Swiatek picked up right where she left off in Paris last year in Madrid on Thursday, needing just 67 minutes to cruise past Alison Riske, 6-1, 6-1, in her first clay-court match of 2021.
Having won seven matches in a row to win her first Grand Slam title at the 2020 French Open, she’s now won eight matches in a row on clay, and without dropping a set—that’s 16 sets in a row.
Even more impressive: she hasn’t lost more than four games in any of those 16 sets.
“I like sliding. I slide even on hard courts,” she said when asked why she’s so strong on clay. “I’m not a player that has to learn how to do that every year. I just have to remind myself how I was moving.
“I like to play heavy topspins. I like to have a lot of time. Clay is perfect for me. Basically it’s because when I was younger, I was only practicing on clay. A lot of European girls have this situation. My first coach always taught me to play with big topspin and kick serve. Right now it’s just natural for me.”
Awaiting the No. 17-ranked Swiatek in the second round is No. 59-ranked Laura Siegemund, a former No. 27 who’s had 14 career wins over Top 20 players. The two will be playing for the first time.
— wta (@WTA) April 29, 2021