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I think I'd lose to Ash on grass: Swiatek

3 minute read

Iga Swiatek may have now won 37 matches on the trot but she reckons the retired Ash Barty would still have had her measure on Wimbledon's grass courts.

ASHLEIGH BARTY.
ASHLEIGH BARTY. Picture: Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Iga Swiatek may seem unstoppable right now, but even she doesn't believe she'd be a match for retired champion Ash Barty on Wimbledon's grass courts.

After taking another step closer on Thursday towards annexing the title that her Australian friend won last year, the brilliant young Pole made the smiling admission that Barty's all-court excellence remained her inspiration.

Even though Swiatek extended her extraordinary winning streak to 37 matches with a disjointed three-set victory over Dutchwoman Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove, she conceded she still found the grass-courts "pretty tricky".

And asked how she thought she might get on if she'd played Barty on the surface right now, she had to smile: "I think I'd lose!"

In the next breath, though, the grin got even wider as she added: "But on clay right now, I think I would win, yeah."

Barty and Swiatek, who've enjoyed being hitting partners, have both triumphed at Roland Garros but in their only meeting on a clay court in Madrid last year, the Australian quite bamboozled her young opponent.

That Swiatek thinks she'd now have Barty's measure on the red stuff gives an indication of how much her confidence has grown as she's won five tournaments on the trot, featuring 37 straight match victories - the best WTA run for any woman since Martina Hingis 25 years ago.

But on grass, she knows she's still a bit coltish in comparison to the way Barty seemed such a master on the surface.

"For sure she's a huge inspiration for me," said Swiatek after her win.

"I said that from the beginning of the season her game always motivated me to get better and to kind of have the same amount of variety and options on court as she does."

Barty was one of the first to salute the 20-year-old, with whom she gets on really well, after she took over her No.1 spot.

"She congratulated me a couple of times. That's pretty nice," said Swiatek.

"Ash is that kind of person that I feel like if I would have some kind of issue or problem, I can always ask her. That's pretty nice. She's, like, that kind of player who has been through every experience in her career."

Next up for Swiatek is French veteran Alize Cornet and if she gets through that one to make it 38 wins in a row, the subsequent landmark in her sights will be Steffi Graf's 66 consecutive WTA wins in 1989 and 1990.

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