Iga Swiatek has issued an emphatic statement to her French Open rivals on a sad day for one of her biggest threats at Roland Garros, Elena Rybakina. Following the devastating news that Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina had withdrawn from the grand slam tournament with illness, Swiatek put on an absolute clinic.
Poland's three-time major winner was in ruthless form on Philippe Chatrier, defeating an opponent 6-0 6-0 for the fourth time in her career and first at a grand slam when she disposed of China's Wang Xinyu with ease. The Chinese star was the unfortunate recipient as Swiatek hit top form at Roland Garros - with social media lighting up about the 'bagel factory' the Pole has been running so methodically.
"I don't want to really talk about that," said the 22-year-old. "I really get why people do that, because it's fun and tennis is entertainment and everything. But, from the players' point of view, I want to be respectful to my opponents."
Swiatek's dazzling performance aside, it couldn't disguise the sense of sadness in the tennis world that fans had been robbed of a potentially mouthwatering showdown with Rybakina, following news of the Kazakh's withdrawal. Rybakina was set to face Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo in the third round, before making the devastating announcement that she was unable to play due to a nasty virus.
“I was not feeling good yesterday and the day before. I didn’t sleep last night,” an emotional Rybakina explained to reporters. “I had fever and a headache and it’s difficult to breathe. I tried to play in the warm-up but I feel it’s the right decision to withdraw.
“I guess with my allergy that my immune system just went down and I picked up something. The doctor said there’s a virus in Paris.
“I‘m really upset not being able to play, but I guess that’s life. There is a lot of ups and downs. Today I just wanted to give 100 per cent, and obviously I’m far from being 100 per cent.”
The 23-year-old had appeared to be the biggest obstacle to Swiatek reaching another final, having won all three matches between them this season. While fans were rocked to hear of Rybakina's news, others were blown away by the latest clinic put on by the French Open favourite, Swiatek.
Oh no! Rybakina out?! Very sad she had credentials
— VimalG (@VimalGEsq) June 3, 2023
I was so sad for Rybakina to get a viral illness at this time. So unlucky. Hopefully she'll be fine for grass. I feel much the same about Ruud. He's not on my faves list but he seems an OK guy.
— L1b3rtyR31gns (@l1b3rtyr31gns) June 3, 2023
Elena Rybakina has withdrawn from the French Open ahead of her match against Sara Sorribes Tormo.
— Tumaini Carayol (@tumcarayol) June 3, 2023
Whoaa... 😮 This is a big development! Sorry to hear #Rybakina had to withdraw due to illness. Huge break for #Swiatek, she won't have to go through #Rybakina and #Sabalenka to defend her title. Plus, #Rybakina is a tougher matchup to #Iga than #Sabalenka imo 😑#RG23
— ULTM8SerenaWilliamsf (@ultm8swfans) June 3, 2023
A double bagel in the 3rd round of a slam. Damn.
— AChP (@4nd123w_) June 3, 2023
Double bagel for Swiatek to get to R4. Have to feel for Wang. That is brutal.
— ruach (@ruach13) June 3, 2023
Iga Swiatek wins!!! 60 60
— Bysö 💛 | Granit ❤🤍 (@hawt_red) June 3, 2023
World no. 1 Polish Iga Swiatek was ruthless and merciless against China's Xin Wang as she was double baggled by the pole 6-0, 6-0 in the round of 16 at the French open...
Class is class anyday anytime#RolandGarros pic.twitter.com/XjcnKknD0j
— Femi The Pundit 🇳🇬 (@FemiThePundit) June 3, 2023
Coco Gauff wins French Open battle of the teens
Elsewhere, America's Coco Gauff won the battle of the teen sensations after claiming a 6-7 (5-7) 6-1 6-1 victory over Russian 16-year-old, Mirra Andreeva. In one of the most anticipated clashes of the week, Gauff took on a player younger than her for just the third time in her senior career. Sixteen-year-old Andreeva swept through qualifying before dropping just six games in her first two rounds at her debut grand slam.
Gauff and Andreeva's combined age is younger than Novak Djokovic, and the 19-year-old American looked like possibly losing to a younger player for the first time in her professional career. However, Andreeva was unable to sustain the level she showed in winning the first set, with Gauff's greater experience ultimately coming to the fore.
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) June 3, 2023
There were moments of youthful petulance from Andreeva, namely an incident late in the tie-break when she swiped a ball angrily into the crowd. The Russian earned a code violation but was fortunate she did not hurt a spectator, which could have seen her disqualified.
"Right after I thought that it was a really stupid move from me, because it was not necessary to do that," she said. "It was really bad what I did. I had thoughts like this (a potential default), but he just gave me a warning."
Gauff knows better than anyone the position Andreeva is in, and she said: "Mirra's super young and she has a big future. I remember I was here playing at 16 years old so she has a lot to look forward to. I'm sure you'll see a lot more matches between us." Another big gun in the women's draw - Tunisian seventh seed Ons Jabeur - overcame a bad start to reach the fourth round with a 4-6 6-4 6-2 victory over Serbian qualifier Olga Danilovic.
Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.