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Iga Swiatek’s hat tip to Ashleigh Barty: “That’s why she’s the best”
The Pole is in the hunt for the WTA’s No. 2 ranking at the BNP Paribas Open, but she was channeling the world No. 1’s mentality on her way to the semifinals.
Published Mar 17, 2022
WATCH: Iga Swiatek speaks to the media after her win in the 2022 BNP Paribas Open quarterfinals.
Iga Swiatek is in the hunt for the WTA’s No. 2 ranking at the BNP Paribas Open, but on Wednesday she was channeling the world No. 1's mentality during her 6-1, 6-0 quarterfinal victory over Madison Keys.
All fortnight long, the No. 4-ranked Pole has found herself putting in long hours at the office as she fought through three tough three-setters in a row. Each time, Swiatek had to come back after dropping the opening set—including a dramatic 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory over Angelique Kerber in the fourth round.
But by the quarterfinals, she’d had enough. Up against Keys, Swiatek finally earned a straightforward victory—and she got things done in style, dropping just one game against the former US Open finalist to book a place in the semifinals.
“It's for sure more fun than when I'm losing,” Swiatek said of her 56-minute rout. “I felt really comfortable. I'm also trying to get some fun as well from matches which are tight. Before [when] I felt stressed, I couldn't really make that fun. But right now, I'm more focused on finding solutions and I want every match to be a lesson for me.”
Learning from all her matches—including ugly wins and tough losses—is a mindset that she admires in current WTA No. 1 Ashleigh Barty. Swiatek has faced the Australian twice in her career, including this year in a Melbourne tune-up event, falling in straight sets both times. But she's taken inspiration from Barty's approach to the game, which Swiatek says meshes well with her own mission for self-improvement.
“When [Barty] feels like the match is really tight, she treats it like a great experience because she can find solutions, actually be focused on that. It's a great challenge for her,” Swiatek said during her post-match press conference. “I'm also trying to find fun when I'm playing, when the score is pretty tight.
“That's why she's the best. It's a pretty healthy mindset.”
In Indian Wells, Swiatek will next face No. 24 Simona Halep and she’ll be looking to channel all of positive mentality as she seeks a place in the final. The Pole is aiming for her second WTA 1000 title in a row, and lifting the trophy here could see her rise to a new career-high world No. 2 ranking by the end of the fortnight.