The 2020 season has been like no other in tennis. This year’s Baseline Awards look at the standout performers and moments during an unusual year. (Photos: Getty Images)
The week before he won the 1997 French Open for his first tour-level title, a 66th-ranked Gustavo Kuerten won an ATP Challenger title, providing what would be the perfect boost of confidence heading into Roland Garros.
Only three years ago, Jelena Ostapenko rode a 14-4 record on clay—compiled between qualifying and main-draw matches, as well as a runner-up finish in Charleston—to surprise success at the French Open, as she made the Grand Slam the site of her first WTA title.
Before the 2020 edition of Roland Garros, world No. 54 Iga Swiatek played at the Premier 5 event in Rome—and lost her opening match to qualifier Arantxa Rus.
Needless to say, it wasn’t optimal preparation for the 19-year-old, heading into a Grand Slam. And right off the bat, Swiatek would have to face the No. 15 seed and last year’s runner-up, Marketa Vondrousova.
That proved to be no problem for Swiatek, as she pulled off the upset in straight sets.
Continuing her strong play in her next two matches, Swiatek set up a fourth-round encounter with Simona Halep, the top seed and heavy favorite for the title. It was a rematch of their round-of-16 contest in 2019, when Halep only dropped one game to her young foe.
This time, Swiatek turned the tables on the 2018 French Open champ, losing only three games to reach her first Grand Slam quarterfinal.