NEW YORK (Reuters) – Poland’s seventh seed Iga Swiatek said she was feeling the pressure that accompanies Grand Slam success after being made to sweat by unseeded Frenchwoman Fiona Ferro before sealing a 3-6 7-6(3) 6-0 win to reach the U.S. Open third round on Thursday.
The 20-year-old, who exploded onto the scene by winning the French Open crown with victory over American Sofia Kenin in 2020 before adding titles in Adelaide and Rome this year, looked out of sorts early in her clash before finding her rhythm.
Swiatek was asked by reporters if difficulties in getting to the venue because of road closures – after remnants of Hurricane Ida wreaked havoc on Wednesday – had thrown her off her game.
“It’s a hard question, but yeah… I feel pressure. Before, I had like fuel in my mind to actually overcome it and work on it, but I feel like it’s been happening a lot, so I’m having less of that fuel,” world number eight Swiatek said.
“Usually in Grand Slams it was easier for me because… physically and tennis-wise, I was super prepared and that was helping me. Here I’m prepared, but I feel the pressure is bigger because of the ranking and everything I’ve been going through.
“It’s hard to describe, but I think it’s kind of usual for players after winning a few tournaments for the first time.”
Swiatek, who faces tricky Estonian Anett Kontaveit next, said she was constantly trying to trick her mind to help her perform well against in-form players.
“I don’t have such a strong control over my mind to actually be sure I’m going to be able to do that, but I’ll try, because I know that then I’ll just be loosened up and that’s the most important thing for me right now,” Swiatek added.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)