PARIS: Iga Swiatek held off a fierce challenge from Ukraine's Marta Kostyuk to advance into the quarter-finals of the French Open with a 6-3 6-4 victory on Monday (Jun 7).
The eighth-seeded Pole has now won 22 consecutive sets at Roland Garros to set up a clash with Greek 17th Maria Sakkari as she bids to become the first woman to retain her title here since Justine Henin in 2007.
Against an 18-year-old opponent who threw everything at her, Swiatek kept her composure in an empty court Philippe Chatrier, with fans not allowed to attend due to Paris's 9pm COVID-19 curfew.
Kostyuk, who had not dropped a set while powering through the first three rounds, piled on the pressure early on to put Swiatek on the back foot and earn a break for 2-1.
An unfazed Swiatek, however, broke straight back before gaining the upper hand in the eighth game when Kostyuk's attempted backhand down the line went wide.
The Pole served it out to take the lead after a hugely competitive set in which she faced five break points.
Swiatek capitalised on her opponent's errors to break for a 2-1 lead in the second, only for Kostyuk to level for 2-2 after she was given a pill by the trainer.
The decisive break for Swiatek came in the seventh game when Kostyuk netted a sliced forehand while attempting to retrieve a lob.
Kostyuk bounced her racket in frustration after Swiatek earned a match point at 5-3, but the Pole squandered that chance.
Kostyuk went 30-0 up in the 10th game but Swiatek won four points in a row, wrapping it up with a superb lob at the end of a quick exchange at the net.