Swiatek saves two match points to reach Wimbledon quarters

Iga Swiatek saved two match points to reach her first Wimbledon quarter-final on Sunday, battling back to beat Belinda Bencic 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/2), 6-3.

The Polish world number one had reached the fourth round without losing a set but faced a tough battle against the Swiss 14th seed on Centre Court.

Swiatek was unable to capitalise on any of the six break points on offer in the first set, looking increasingly rattled and gesturing towards her coaching team.

Bencic, the Olympic champion, raced into a 6-1 lead in the tie-break, snuffing out Swiatek’s mini-comeback to take control of the match.

Swiatek, who had looked pleadingly towards her coaching staff, disappeared off court with a notebook in hand, searching for a workable game plan.

She returned to the court with a spring in her step and broke at her first opportunity, only for the tenacious Bencic to return the favor in the sixth game.

Swiatek appeared to be on the brink of a shock exit when she ballooned a backhand long to hand Bencic two match points at 15-40 in the 12th game.

But the top seed saved them both, forcing a tie-break, which she won easily to level the match.

The four-time Grand Slam champion broke in the fourth game of the decider and then held to stretch her lead to 4-1.

She was made to work for her win but eventually served out to take the third set 6-3 and seal the match.

Swiatek, 22, said she felt was able to play without fear when facing a shock exit.

“It’s actually a little bit easier because on the other hand you feel like she’s leading anyway so you play those shots more fearlessly because you know you have nothing to lose.”

Swiatek, who has won three French Open titles on clay, said she was learning to love the grass.

“Every day my love is getting bigger so hopefully I’m going to have as many days as possible to stay here and play on this court,” she said.



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