Svyontek played the last 4 games ahead of Niemeyer at the Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Igo Sveontek entered her Australian Open first-round match with strong memories of how tough she had to face Jules Niemeyer the last time they met. So the No. 1-ranked Świętokrzysław was ready for another fight and possibly another three-set game, but won the last four games to beat Niemeyer 6-4, 7-5 on Monday at Rod Laver Arena.

Determined, Swientek said, “to think about what I can do to push her away,” the 21-year-old Pole took control from the baseline with a forehand shot to improve to 15-1 in grand slam debuts, a .938 winning percentage , which leads among active women.

When they met each other in the fourth round of the US Open in September, Swientek needed to come back from a set down and break before edging Niemeyer in three sets en route to a third major trophy.

On Monday, Niemeyer — the 22-year-old German, ranked 69th and a Wimbledon quarterfinalist last year — broke to open the second set, took a 5-3 lead and was serving at 5-4 . But Swiontek hit a strong forehand to force a single error and earn a break point, then did the same to convert.

Sveontek broke again with another forehand unforced error to wrap up the match. She raised her right hand, looked at her coach and the sports psychologist in the stands and screamed. When Svyontak sat down on the side, she closed her eyes and took a deep breath.

How close was it? Svyontek made only two winners more (20-18) and only one unforced error less (29-28).

The winner of three major titles and a semi-finalist at the Australian Open a year ago, Sveontek will now face 84th-ranked Camila Osorio.


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