PARIS- - Defending champion Iga Swiatek needed only 31 minutes to reach the French Open quarter-finals on Monday as her Ukrainian opponent Lesia Tsurenko retired after feeling unwell. World number one Swiatek was 4-1 up in the opening set when Tsurenko called on the trainer and had her blood pressure and pulse checked. Following a five-minute medical timeout, the match resumed but Tsurenko threw in the towel after losing the following game to love. "I'm sorry, playing Iga was my priority, I'm very sorry," Tsurenko told a press conference.
"I've had this virus for a couple of days and today it was tough for me to warm up and I hoped I would feel better during the match but unfortunately it got worse. My body could not take it. "I was fine at my last match although I started to have a sore throat and then yesterday I could practice for only 10 minutes. I had litres of water and healthy things, vitamins, a lot of fruits. I need another two, three days to recover." Swiatek next faces American sixth seed Coco Gauff in a repeat of last year's final, which the Pole won6-1 6-3and she will enter the contest having spent just over four hours on court.
Wearing a ribbon in the Ukrainian colours pinned to her cap while Tsurenko had one on her top, Swiatek raced to a 4-0 lead as the world number 66 started to show signs of weakness. She still managed to pull a break back but requested the trainer to come on court as she sat down on her bench at the change of ends. She was seen explaining her problems to the medical staff and after being given the green light to continue, it soon became evident that she was struggling to play her shots and ended the match prematurely. Swiatek has dropped only nine games en route to the quarter-finals as she chases a third Roland Garros title in four years. "Obviously it's not the way you want to win a match," Swiatek told a press conference. The 22-year-old, however, was satisfied with her campaign so far as she can now rely on experience to deal with the demands of a Grand Slam. "Before I was exhausted mentally and physically, every match cost me a lot but now I'm able to do better," she explained.
"In the first part of the tournament it's important to keep something for the next round." Swiatek is now well established as a top player and reaching the quarter-finals at a Grand Slam gives her little to celebrate, although that does also depend on the major. "If I could be in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon I would be over the moon," she said with a laugh.