There’s dominance, there’s pure dominance, and then there’s whatever Iga Swiatek is doing to the rest of women’s tennis during her historic and ceaseless destruction of every field she enters.
With a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 defeat of Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove in Thursday’s second-round Wimbledon slate, Swiatek, who still isn’t one of the sport’s 10 highest-paid players in 2022, extended her jaw-dropping streak of unbeaten play to 37 matches.
But that’s not the most astounding part of her success. Nor is the fact she celebrated her 21st birthday in May, which means the majority of the streak came while she was still just 20 years old. It’s phenomenal that she’s thrived on three different surfaces, with portions of the streak coming on hard courts, clay, and grass, but that’s not it, either.
Swiatek isn’t just eking out nailbiter after nailbiter. She’s stomping on opponents from the moment warmups end until the final shot of the match and usually refusing to cede as much as a single set.
Iga Swiatek’s historic winning streak
Back on Feb. 16, Jelena Ostapenko managed to get the better of Iga Swiatek, earning a 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(4) victory that needed a third-set tiebreaker in the Round of 16 at Dubai. Since then, the Polish world No. 1’s aggressive, all-court, offense-first style of play has been untouchable.
Gather yourself for a moment, because the list of victories is long and overwhelming:
- Feb. 22: 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 over Viktorija Golubic at the Qatar TotalEnergies Open
- Feb. 23: 6-3, 6-0 over Daria Kasatkina at the Qatar TotalEnergies Open
- Feb. 24: 6-2, 6-3 over Arna Sabalenka at the Qatar TotalEnergies Open
- Feb. 25: 6-4, 6-3 over Maria Sakkari at the Qatar TotalEnergies Open
- Feb. 26: 6-2,-6-0 over Anett Kontaveit at the Qatar TotalEnergies Open
- March 11: 5-7, 6-0, 6-1 over Anhelina Kalinina at the BNP Paribas Open
- March 13: 6-7(3), 6-2, 6-1 over Clara Tauson at the BNP Paribas Open
- March 15: 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 over Angelique Kerber at the BNP Paribas Open
- March 16: 6-1, 6-0 over Madison Keys at the BNP Paribas Open
- March 18: 7-6(6), 6-4 over Simona Halep at the BNP Paribas Open
- March 20: 6-4, 6-1 over Maria Sakkari at the BNP Paribas Open
- March 25: 6-2, 6-0 over Viktorija Golubic at the Miami Open
- March 27: 6-0, 6-3 over Madison Brengle at the Miami Open
- March 28: 6-3, 6-1 over Cori Gauff at the Miami Open
- March 30: 6-3, 6-3 over Petra Kvitova at the Miami Open
- March 31: 6-2, 7-5 over Jessica Pegula at the Miami Open
- April 2: 6-4, 6-0 over Naomi Osaka at the Miami Open
- April 15: 6-1, 6-0 over Mihaela Buzarnescu at the Billie Jean King Cup
- April 16: 6-0, 6-0 over Andreea Prisacariu at the Billie Jean King Cup
- April 20: 6-1, 6-1 over Eva Lys at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix
- April 22: 6-4, 6-4 over Emma Raducanu at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix
- April 23: 6-7(4), 6-4, 7-5 over Liudmila Samsonova at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix
- April 24: 6-2, 6-2 over Aryna Sabalenka at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix
- May 11: 6-3, 6-0 over Elena Gabriela Ruse at the Internazionali BNL D’Italia
- May 12: 6-4, 6-1 over Victoria Azarenka at the Internazionali BNL D’Italia
- May 13: 7-6(2), 6-0 over Bianca Andreescu at the Internazionali BNL D’Italia
- May 14: 6-2, 6-1 over Aryna Sabalenka at the Internazionali BNL D’Italia
- May 15: 6-2, 6-2 over Ons Jabeur at the Internazionali BNL D’Italia
- May 23: 6-2, 6-0 over Lesya Tsurenko at the French Open
- May 26: 6-0, 6-2 over Alison Riske at the French Open
- May 28: 6-3, 7-5 over Danka Kovinic at the French Open
- May 30: 6-7(5), 6-0, 6-2 over Qinwen Zheng at the French Open
- June 1: 6-3, 6-2 over Jessica Pegula at the French Open
- June 2: 6-2, 6-1 over Daria Kasatkina at the French Open
- June 4: 6-1, 6-3 over Cori Guaff at the French Open
- June 28: 6-0, 6-3 over Jana Fett at Wimbledon
- June 30: 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 over Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove at Wimbledon
Swiatek is only the eighth woman in the Open Era with a winning streak of at least 35 matches, joining Venus Williams in 2000 (35), Martina Hingis in 1997 (37), Monica Seles in 1990 (36), Steffi Graf in 1989-90 (66, though she also had streaks of 46 and 45), Martina Navratilova in 1984 (74, though she also had streaks of 58, 54, 41, 37, and 36), Chris Evert in 1974 (55, though she also had streaks of 41 and 36), and Margaret Court in 1972-73 (57).
She’s already surpassed Williams and Seles, and the victory over Pattinama Kerkhove matched Hingis. Now, no one has had a longer streak since Graf in 1990, though she has a long way to go to catch her — and the rest of the luminaries of the earlier eras of women’s tennis.
Iga Swiatek is dominating, not just winning
During the winning streak, Iga Swiatek has emerged victoriously from 37 straight matches and accumulated even more staggering marks when you break down the record at a more granular level.
The second-round Wimbledon defeat of Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove was a rarity because it was only the second time during the streak that Swiatek has lost a second set and just the seventh time she’s needed three sets to win. Dating back to Feb. 22, her win-loss record in terms of sets rather than matches stands at a dumbfounding 74-7 (0.914).
And somehow, when she does lose a set, she gets that much better for the rest of the match.
Throughout the streak, Swiatek has won 483 games and lost 199. That gives her a game-based winning percentage of 0.708. In sets that come after she’s already dropped one in a best-of-three affair, her game-based winning record somehow goes up to 73-25 (0.745). It’s like she’s able to take what she’s learned in defeat and immediately apply it to become that much more dangerous.
Opponents have averaged 3.03 games won during first sets against her. That number actually drops to 1.89 and 2.43 in the second and third sets, respectively.
It’s not just that Swiatek won’t stop winning. She won’t even give opponents a fighting chance.