Iga Swiatek in brutal French Open act as Elena Rybakina news rocks fans

The devastating development has blown the French Open women's draw wide open.

Elena Rybakina's French Open withdrawal came on the same day as tennis World No.1 Iga Swiatek put on a double bagel clinic. Pic: Getty
Elena Rybakina's French Open withdrawal came on the same day as tennis World No.1 Iga Swiatek put on a double bagel clinic. Pic: Getty

Iga Swiatek has issued an emphatic statement to her French Open rivals on a sad day for one of her biggest threats at Roland Garros, Elena Rybakina. Following the devastating news that Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina had withdrawn from the grand slam tournament with illness, Swiatek put on an absolute clinic.

Poland's three-time major winner was in ruthless form on Philippe Chatrier, defeating an opponent 6-0 6-0 for the fourth time in her career and first at a grand slam when she disposed of China's Wang Xinyu with ease. The Chinese star was the unfortunate recipient as Swiatek hit top form at Roland Garros - with social media lighting up about the 'bagel factory' the Pole has been running so methodically.

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"I don't want to really talk about that," said the 22-year-old. "I really get why people do that, because it's fun and tennis is entertainment and everything. But, from the players' point of view, I want to be respectful to my opponents."

Swiatek's dazzling performance aside, it couldn't disguise the sense of sadness in the tennis world that fans had been robbed of a potentially mouthwatering showdown with Rybakina, following news of the Kazakh's withdrawal. Rybakina was set to face Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo in the third round, before making the devastating announcement that she was unable to play due to a nasty virus.

Kazakh tennis star Elena Rybakina has pulled out of the French Open after citing illness. Pic: Getty
Kazakh tennis star Elena Rybakina has pulled out of the French Open after citing illness. Pic: Getty

“I was not feeling good yesterday and the day before. I didn’t sleep last night,” an emotional Rybakina explained to reporters. “I had fever and a headache and it’s difficult to breathe. I tried to play in the warm-up but I feel it’s the right decision to withdraw.

“I guess with my allergy that my immune system just went down and I picked up something. The doctor said there’s a virus in Paris.

“I‘m really upset not being able to play, but I guess that’s life. There is a lot of ups and downs. Today I just wanted to give 100 per cent, and obviously I’m far from being 100 per cent.”

The 23-year-old had appeared to be the biggest obstacle to Swiatek reaching another final, having won all three matches between them this season. While fans were rocked to hear of Rybakina's news, others were blown away by the latest clinic put on by the French Open favourite, Swiatek.

Coco Gauff wins French Open battle of the teens

Elsewhere, America's Coco Gauff won the battle of the teen sensations after claiming a 6-7 (5-7) 6-1 6-1 victory over Russian 16-year-old, Mirra Andreeva. In one of the most anticipated clashes of the week, Gauff took on a player younger than her for just the third time in her senior career. Sixteen-year-old Andreeva swept through qualifying before dropping just six games in her first two rounds at her debut grand slam.

Gauff and Andreeva's combined age is younger than Novak Djokovic, and the 19-year-old American looked like possibly losing to a younger player for the first time in her professional career. However, Andreeva was unable to sustain the level she showed in winning the first set, with Gauff's greater experience ultimately coming to the fore.

There were moments of youthful petulance from Andreeva, namely an incident late in the tie-break when she swiped a ball angrily into the crowd. The Russian earned a code violation but was fortunate she did not hurt a spectator, which could have seen her disqualified.

"Right after I thought that it was a really stupid move from me, because it was not necessary to do that," she said. "It was really bad what I did. I had thoughts like this (a potential default), but he just gave me a warning."

Gauff knows better than anyone the position Andreeva is in, and she said: "Mirra's super young and she has a big future. I remember I was here playing at 16 years old so she has a lot to look forward to. I'm sure you'll see a lot more matches between us." Another big gun in the women's draw - Tunisian seventh seed Ons Jabeur - overcame a bad start to reach the fourth round with a 4-6 6-4 6-2 victory over Serbian qualifier Olga Danilovic.

with agencies

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