Swiatek will be chasing her third title in Paris in four years and fourth Grand Slam title overall while Muchova is trying to follow in the footsteps of Barbora Krejcikova, a fellow Czech player who won her first Grand Slam at Roland Garros two years ago.
On paper, Swiatek, the world No. 1, is the favorite. Muchova, however, did win their only previous battle, albeit four years ago. The Czech has already shown she’s not afraid of the big occasion, having beaten No.2 seed Aryna Sabalenka in the semis.
Why Iga Swiatek will win
Well, for a start, she’s the defending champion and she’s the top-ranked player in the world. Swiatek has also been beating up on most of her rivals for much of the past 18 months, in which time the 22-year-old has won two more slams — the French Open and US Open — to go with her triumph here in 2020.
Swiatek is the most consistent performer at this level and while she will have plenty of respect for Muchova, she will be relieved that her opponent is neither of the two women who have pushed her the most this year, Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina.
Muchova has more variety than the opponents Swiatek has faced so far and will try to frustrate her with changes of pace but she doesn’t have the power of a Sabalenka, who could overpower Swiatek.
Experience is key, usually, in Grand Slam finals and while Muchova does not know how she will react to the biggest match of her life, Swiatek knows what to expect and knows she’s been there and done it before. She’s 3-0 in slam finals and 13-4 in finals overall, so she’s not going to freeze.
There’s also the feeling that Swiatek might have faced her toughest match — her semifinal with Beatriz Haddad Maia was one point away from going to a deciding set. No one has taken a set off Swiatek this fortnight and it would be no surprise should she romp to another victory.
Why Karolina Muchova will win
Muchova takes down Sabalenka to book trip to French Open final
Karolina Muchova takes down No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka in the French Open semifinals.
The retirement of Ash Barty early last year left a void at the top of the game, which was quickly filled by Swiatek, but her legacy lives on in Muchova, who is through to her first Grand Slam final.
The 26-year-old is a player very much in the same vein. Tall, with a good serve, she comes into her own when she’s moving forward, with a great slice, soft hands, good volleys and an instinctive feel for how to get the job done.
Against Sabalenka in the semifinals, she denied the Belarusian pace. In the final, she might try to pull Swiatek into the forecourt, where she’s least comfortable. Her ability to soak up the power means Swiatek could have to try something different and the hope for Muchova is that she finds a way to frustrate her opponent.
One year ago, Muchova left Roland Garros in tears, injury ending her tournament early and eventually pulling her off the tour for a few months. A series of injuries have prevented her from being ranked higher until now but she’s now guaranteed to be inside the top 20. If she wins, she’ll break into the top 10.
If Muchova can cope with Swiatek’s power and the occasion, she has the skills to outfox her and make life uncomfortable. As she showed in the semis, when she saved a match point and came back from 5-2 down in the third set, Muchova also has the mental strength to cope.
What will happen
If Swiatek plays her best, she should win and the chances are that she will win in straight sets, just as she has done in each of her three previous Grand Slam finals. In her two previous French Open finals, she’s dropped a total of just nine games, so Muchova is up against it. The Czech probably needs to play a perfect match to have a chance and, though Swiatek can get frustrated at times, she’ll probably get the job done, perhaps in two tight sets. And don’t forget that Muchova has spent nearly four and a half hours more than Swiatek on the court, so Swiatek will be fresh.
Iga Swiatek vs. Karolina Muchova — Who will win the French Open women’s final?