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Iga Swiatek posted “Good day in the office,”on social media on Monday, having safely navigated through to the Australian Open second round.

“I think I started from a brand-new position. I just wanted to dominate on court, and I did pretty well, so I’m happy.”

The Polish teenager is trying to reset, recalibrate in 2021 following her breakout Grand Slam triumph at Roland Garros in October.

The 19-year-old opened her Australian Open account by dispatching Arantxa Rus 6-1, 6-3, erasing the memory of an early exit from the Gippsland trophy at the hands of Ekaterina Alexandrova last week.

There were some sparkling moments on court on Monday, including a sublime backhand round the net post, as the 15th seed gained revenge from a loss to Rus in Rome last September.

The Pole’s Parisian triumph obviously boosts Swiatek’s belief, but also can be a hinderance.

“It came to my mind like during previous matches last week. Today it was different. It was easier for me to focus on just being here, just playing a match,” admitted the world No.17.

“It gives me confidence because I know I can play great tennis. But usually it’s, ‘C’mon, you’re making much more mistakes than on French Open, you were playing better then.’

“I saw finally what I can do, and somehow in the back of my mind I expect to play always like that, but it’s impossible.

“It’s about managing expectations. I try to treat every tournament as a different story and I think it’s good.”

Managing expectations and writing a different story as a young major champion is a tough ask. On Monday Swiatek managed to block out the thoughts and pressures of a first-round battle by singing Marvin Gaye’s classic ‘It Takes Two.’ In her head, of course.

From a personal perspective, the 15th seed can look forward, but her opponents will see her as a marked name on the draw.

“It feels little bit different on court because I feel like people are not treating me as an underdog any more, and I have to adjust to that,” added the deep-thinking teenager.

“But I want it to be the same. I want to enjoy the tournament as I did enjoy like every one. I’m just going to try to lower my expectations and remember that everybody is starting from the same position when they’re on court. I’m going to work with that.”

Swiatek will need to be fully switched on in the second round.

Camilla Giorgi may have slipped to No.79 in the rankings, but the pocket-rocket Italian crushed Swiatek 6-2, 6-0 in their only previous meeting at the Australian Open in 2019.

“I remember it was a really tough match for me because that was the first match that I played with a player who plays so fast,” recalled Swiatek.

“So I think I made a progress since our last match. I’m going to be prepared for everything because she can play really great tennis, really fast. This surface, it’s going to help her.

“I’m going to be tactically prepared. I’m going to be ready for anything, yeah. Just going to play my tennis.”

It’s a tricky juxtaposition for Swiatek to sit with, moving on from Roland-Garros, but also trying to recall the breath-taking tennis in Paris which launched her to becoming a Grand Slam champion.

For now, Swiatek has turned over the page and appears on the right path in Melbourne.

Source: Alex Sharp

www.sports24ghana.com