Iga Swiatek’s Advances Persist as She Stands against ‘Absurd’ Online Hate

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Iga Swiatek has called for less hate and more thoughtfulness from fans on the internet after she received criticism even as she continues to progress through the draw at the Cincinnati Open this week.

“The amount of hate and criticism that me and my team get after even losing a set is just ridiculous,” said Swiatek. “I want to encourage people to be more thoughtful when they comment on the internet. It would be great if you guys [journalists] would kind of help us make it happen because we all sacrifice a lot, and we are all working really hard to be in that place.

“We are always giving 100% of what we can do every day. It’s kind of sad for me to see that people I work with and myself, we are really judged. I would like to encourage people to be more thoughtful and to also focus on the positive side of what we are doing.”

Swiatek said on Thursday that her team had received emails and critical private messages merely after losing a set in her third-round match. She recovered from one down to comprehensively defeat Zheng Qinwen 3-6, 6-1, 6-1.

“Seeing everything that’s going on on the internet after some days when I don’t play my best tennis and just have a moment of a little bit worse performance, I feel that world would be such a better place if we didn’t judge each other so quickly and write that,” said the 22-year-old. “It’s not only in the public area but also emails I get and messages, and my team, as well, actually, which is pretty crazy.”

After Thursday’s tense match, Swiatek triumphed in a marquee battle between the two most recent grand slam champions on Friday. The French Open winner defeated Marketa Vondrousova, the Wimbledon champion, 7-6 (3), 6-1 to reach the semi-finals here for the first time.

Swiatek trailed throughout much of the first set, which Vondrousova twice served for at 5-4 and 6-5 as she frustrated her Polish opponent with her defence and resourcefulness. But in all of the decisive moments, Swiatek produced her best. After breaking serve to force a tie-break, she took control with her much superior weight of shot and never looked back.

While Swiatek may not have quite hit the heights of last year’s remarkable 37-match winning streak, her consistency this year is notable. She is now 53-8 for wins and losses (an 87% win rate) this season having reached consecutive WTA 1000 semi-finals on the North American hard courts.

Karolina Muchova also made the semi-finals after Marie Bouzkova retired through injury when she was 3-0 down.

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Another high-profile contest awaits Swiatek as she faces Coco Gauff, the seventh seed, for a spot in the final. Gauff, who has been in strong form since winning the WTA 500 event in Washington this month, comfortably defeated Jasmine Paolini 6-3, 6-2. The 19-year-old will have to overcome a 0-7 record against Swiatek to reach her first WTA 1000 final.

In the men’s draw, Carlos Alcaraz, the top seed, has still yet to find his best form in Cincinnati but he recovered from a set down to overcome Max Purcell 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, moving into the semi-finals despite being pushed to three sets in all three of his matches this week.

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