LONDON – Iga Swiatek has one of the sharpest minds in women’s tennis but admitted she confused herself with her tactics in a shock defeat by Alize Cornet in the Wimbledon third round on Saturday.
The Pole was red-hot favourite for the title and was on a 37-match winning streak heading into her clash with Cornet, but hit 33 unforced errors in a dismal 6-4 6-2 defeat.
“What can I say? I know I didn’t play good tennis. I was pretty confused about my tactics,” she said. “As a solid player, she used that pretty well. It wasn’t good performance for me.”
Swiatek fell 3-0 behind in the opener before finding her feet and was 2-0 ahead in the second set only to lose six successive games and crash out on Court One.
Asked to explain how she lost the last six games without putting up much resistance, she said: “Usually when I’m coming back, I have some kind of a plan and I know what to change. Here I didn’t know what to change. I was confused.
“On grass court everything happens so quickly.
“Basically the thing that I changed this season is I started being more and more aggressive. It was really comfortable for me to have the initiative and be proactive.
“But here I couldn’t control the ball. So I needed to slow down a little bit. Then in the second set, I kind of made few attempts to speed up again, and it didn’t work out.”
Twice French Open champion Swiatek had not looked totally comfortable in her opening two rounds and the 21-year-old was taken to three sets on Thursday by lucky loser from qualifying Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove.
In the build-up to Wimbledon she did not compete on grass and admits that the surface is still a puzzle.
“I tried many things to feel better on court, on grass courts, but it didn’t really work out,” she said.
“That’s why I’m not even hard on myself because, it’s kind of logic that if I couldn’t find it even on practices, I’m not going to find it in a match.”
At the end of a streak that matched Martina Hingis’s in the 1997 season, she said she would look back with pride.
“Right now even I am satisfied with this streak, so I’m happy that I was able to do that,” she said.