WATCH: Swiatek caught up with Tennis Channel after reaching her second semifinal at Roland Garros.

Standing at the baseline to begin her quarterfinal clash with Jessica Pegula, Iga Swiatek was surely experiencing what the French and Beyoncé call déjà vu. It was only a year ago that the world No. 1 was at this very stage at Roland Garros, the odds-on favorite to win Roland Garros and begin an ascent to one day rival idol Rafael Nadal.

A flat match against Maria Sakkari up-ended all of those certainties and concluded a 10-match winning streak Swiatek had begun with a win at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, and the young Pole was back in Paris, the clear choice to win a second title on the terre battue and playing the quarterfinals on the back of an even larger winning streak—32, to be exact.

All that extra pressure has ultimately done little to derail Swiatek in this latest bid for a major victory: the top seed vanquished what demons remained from last year’s disappointment with a 6-3, 6-2 win over No. 11 seed Pegula that puts her into a second straight Grand Slam semifinal.

Swiatek looked far more overwhelmed in the early goings in her fourth round with 19-year-old Zheng Qinwen, a surreal encounter that saw Zheng play Swiatek’s recently-vacated role of upstart ingenue to near-perfection in the opening set. It was only two years ago that Swiatek turned the tables on top seed Simona Halep to kickstart her brutally efficient run to the 2020 Roland Garros title as a wide-eyed 19-year-old. Now at the advanced age of 21, Swiatek relied on her breadth of experience to ease past the Chinese teenager and return to the round that had been her bête noire last year.

Like Sakkari, Pegula posed similar challenges from the outset. The 28-year-old has been one of the post-pandemic era’s biggest stories thanks to a physical reliability that has allowed her to unlock the most consistent tennis of her career. Long snake-bitten by injuries and multiple surgeries, the American is now a fixture in the late stages of big tournaments, finishing runner-up to Ons Jabeur at the Mutua Madrid Open after reaching the semifinals in Miami. The American is projected to make her Top 10 debut after rallying past Irina-Camelia Begu in the round of 16, a result that guaranteed a second straight major quarterfinal and third overall.


Pegula, at least for now, also shares Sakkari’s certain lack of je ne sais quoi in big matches—something Swiatek, with her court-defying spin and preternatural athleticism, has in spades. Though she routinely challenged the world No. 1 in multiple deuce games, Swiatek always enjoyed an extra edge, which easily carried her to a set and 5-2 lead.

It was then that Pegula drew Swiatek into one last battle, forcing her to engineer four match points before finally converting in just short of 90 minutes on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

More déjà vu awaits Swiatek across the net in the semifinals when she faces familiar foe Daria Kasatkina, who won an all-Russian quarterfinal to secure the biggest result of her career. Swiatek has won all three of their 2022 meetings, but this will be the first of their rivalry to come on clay.

Kasatkina could be seen as an early prototype of the Swiatek style, an unapologetic jock with Nadal-inspired spin and flair that looks best on clay. The former Roland Garros girl’s champion enjoyed her most consistent year when Swiatek was working her own way up the junior ranks, reaching back-to-back major quarterfinals in 2018, but struggling for consistency in the years since.

Still only 25, the No. 20 seed narrowly missed a spot in the Rome final to Ons Jabeur and can still overflow with nervous tension, the kind which nearly caused her to fall apart before figuring out countrywoman Veronika Kudermetova, 6-4, 7-6 (5) this afternoon.

But it’s hard to see past Swiatek, who plays a game beyond her years and is seemingly in the midst of a fast-track towards becoming as experienced as her accolades imply. With two matches still to go, she remains on course to being called the same word in English and French: champion.