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Iga Swiatek vs. Karolina Muchova – Who will win the Roland-Garros women’s final?

Get ready for a women’s final of contrasting styles at the 2023 French Open on Saturday as two-time champion Iga Swiatek and first-time Slam finalist Karolina Muchova battle it out for the title.

Swiatek will be aiming for her third title in Paris in four years and her fourth Grand Slam title overall, while Muchova tries to follow in the footsteps of Barbora Krejcikova, a fellow Czech who won her first Grand Slam at Roland Garros two years ago .

On paper, Swiatek, the world No. 1, is the favorite. Muchova, however, won her only previous battle, albeit four years ago. The Czech player has already shown she isn’t afraid of the big occasion, after beating No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka in the semi-finals.

Why Iga Swiatek will win

Well, for starters, she’s the defending champion and the highest-ranked player in the world. The Polish player has also beaten most of her rivals for much of the past 18 months, during which the 22-year-old has won two more Grand Slams – the aforementioned French Open and US Open – to go with his triumph here in 2020.

Swiatek is the most consistent performer at this level, and while she will have a lot of respect for Muchova, she will be relieved that her opponent is neither of the two women who have pushed her the most this year, Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina.

Muchova has more variety than the opponents Swiatek has faced so far and will try to frustrate her with changes of pace, but she lacks the power of a Sabalenka, who could defeat Swiatek.

Experience is key, usually, in Grand Slam finals, and while Muchova isn’t sure how she’ll react to the biggest match of her life, Swiatek knows what to expect and knows she’s been there and did it before. She’s 3-0 in Slam finals and 13-4 in overall finals, so she’s not going to freeze.

There’s also a sense that Swiatek might have faced his toughest match – his semi-final with Beatriz Haddad Maia was one point away from going to a deciding set. No one has made a start at Swiatek these fortnight, and it wouldn’t be surprising if she picked up another victory.

Why Karolina Muchova will win

Ash Barty’s retirement early last year left a void at the top of the game, which was quickly filled by Swiatek, but his legacy lives on at Muchova, who are in their first Grand Slam final.

The 26-year-old is a very close player in the same vein. Tall, with a good serve, she comes into her own when she steps forward, with a great slice, soft hands, good volleys and an instinctive sense of how to get the job done.

Against Sabalenka in the semi-final, she denied the Belarusian rhythm. In the final, she could try to attract Swiatek to the forecourt, where she is least comfortable. Her ability to absorb power means Swiatek might have to try something different, and the hope for Muchova is that she finds a way to frustrate her opponent.

A year ago, Muchova left Roland Garros in tears, an injury ending her tournament prematurely and eventually taking her out of action for a few months. A series of injuries have kept her from being ranked higher so far, but at this point she is guaranteed to be in the top 20. If she wins, she will enter the top 10.

If Muchova can deal with Swiatek’s power and on occasion, she has the skills to outsmart it and make life uncomfortable. As she showed in the semi-finals, when she saved a match point and came from behind 5-2 up in the third set, Muchova also has the mental toughness to cope.

What’s going to happen

If Swiatek plays her best, she should win and there is a good chance she will win in straight sets, as she has done in each of her previous three Grand Slam finals. In her previous two French Open finals, she has lost just nine games in total, so Muchova is against it. The Czech player probably needs to play a perfect match to stand a chance, and while Swiatek can get frustrated at times, she’ll probably get the job done, perhaps in two tight sets. And don’t forget that Muchova spent almost 4 and a half hours longer than Swiatek on the pitch, so Swiatek will be fresher.


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