4 min read
Iga Swiatek is heavily favored to win her third Roland Garros trophy in four years, while Karolina Muchova will need to pull off another huge upset like she did to come back from the brink of defeat to stun Aryna Sabalenka in the semifinals.
Let's take a closer look at the women's final with help from Universal Tennis INSIGHTS.
(1) Iga Swiatek (13.28) vs. Karolina Muchova (12.84)
Swiatek has the higher UTR Rating, and the even higher clay UTR Rating — 13.34 compared to Muchova's 12.82. By all odds, Sabalenka should be in the final, having held a match point and 5-2 lead in the third set against Muchova on Thursday. But the 26-year-old didn't give up, and now she's one match away from winning her first Grand Slam title.
“I was ready to leave it all out there. I did..." Muchova said. Muchova started her bid by stunning No. 8 seed Maria Sakkari in the first round and the dropping just one set in her next three matches. Her defeat of Sabalenka in the semifinals marked Muchova's best victory since she took out a WTA No. 2-ranked Naomi Osaka in 2021.
Though Muchova is clearly playing some of her best tennis ever, Swiatek's consistency is unparalleled, especially in Paris, where she's got a career record of 27-2. The 22-year-old won in Paris in 2020 and captured both Roland Garros and the US Open in 2022. She's got a lot more experience at this level than Muchova, who previously made one major semifinal at the Australian Open in 2021.
Furthermore, Swiatek is 3-0 in Grand Slam finals and 13-4 in finals overall, while Muchova is 1-1 in WTA finals (winning Seoul and losing the Prague final in 2019). That year in Prague, Muchova picked up a win over Swiatek in their only career meeting. At the time, Swiatek was ranked No. 96 and Muchova No. 106 in the WTA rankings. Four years is a long time.
Since breaking through in 2020, Swiatek has established herself at the top of the WTA rankings, winning eight titles in 2022 while amassing a 37-match win streak. Her 2023 season has seen her pick up two titles, and now she's on the cusp of her fourth Grand Slam.
The last few years have played out quite differently for Muchova. Injuries forced her to miss six months of action at the end of 2021 and more time after last year's Roland Garros. Thanks to her performance this fortnight, she'll be back inside the WTA Top 20, where she belongs.
"There have been many moments, many lows, I would say, from one injury to another..." Muchova said. "You never know. Some doctors told me, you know, maybe you'll not do sport anymore. But I always kept it kind of positive in my mind and tried to work and do all the exercises to be able to come back."
INSIGHTS gives Swiatek the highest odds of winning the final at 74%. Muchova will need to leave it all out on the court, and then some, to disrupt Swiatek's flow.
“There is no sense to change anything," Swiatek said. "If you’re in a final, it means your routine is working. Our goal is to play this match as any other one. I always tried to do that, and it usually works.”
The Pole has not dropped a set in six matches, though she was finally tested on Thursday against Beatriz Haddad Maia. The Brazilian held a set point in the second set before Swiatek closed out the win, 6-2, 7-6(7).
"Of course, it’s really amazing," Swiatek said. "Honestly, it’s just tough to play a long tournament. I’m really happy I’m able to play consistently. I’m pretty excited to play another day and see how it’s going to go."
•UTR Ratings and INSIGHTS probabilities as of 11 a.m. EST, June 9, 2023.