French Open 2020: Swiatek swagger set to test Kenin in Roland Garros showpiece

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Iga Swiatek has made the bold, charmingly teenage claim that she doesn't care whether she wins or loses Saturday's French Open final.

On the day before the biggest match of her life against Sofia Kenin, the Polish 19-year-old had a gentle reality check when her hopes of a twin triumph in Paris were scotched.

Until she and Nicole Melichar were beaten in the semi-finals of the doubles on Friday, sliding 7-6 (7-5) 1-6 6-4 to Alexa Guarachi and Desirae Krawczyk, this had been a fortnight where the former Wimbledon girls' champion appeared unbeatable.

Swiatek has remarkably dropped just 23 games in six singles matches, the fewest by a French Open finalist since Mary Pierce lost only 10 games while sprinting to the 1994 title match.

She is being heralded a new superstar of tennis, and can joins the ranks of teenage grand slam winners at Roland Garros, a passport to prosperity. In the Open Era, there have been 13 previous teenage women's singles champions at majors.

But amid the attention, the player who chewed up top seed and title favourite Simona Halep in the fourth round is taking each experience in her stride, guided by a travelling sports psychologist in Daria Abramowicz.

And Swiatez is impervious, it seems, to not only the scale of her achievement but the stakes involved.

"I don't care if I'm going to lose or win. I'm going to just play my best tennis," she said. "The final is also a great result, so really I have no pressure."

Her casual dismissiveness is of course not simply down to the insouciance of youth, and can perhaps be most closely traced to the work she and Abramowicz put in, taking the stress out of situations.

"I don't know how I made the decision when I was younger, but I always wanted to work with a psychologist," Swiatek said. "I had this belief that it's like a big part of the game. But my parents, they weren't as open to that as I was."

Hers is a joyous game to behold, a mix of blistering power and trickery that has made her the favourite for the match with many observers, despite Kenin having won the Australian Open at the start of the year.

Swiatek's world ranking of 54 makes no sense in the context of this fortnight, and it will take a major leap forward next week.

She, Kenin and the likes of Naomi Osaka, who won the US Open last month, are faces who can shape the future of women's tennis.

And with the men's tennis Big Three approaching their dotage, the women's game could see the sort of boon, with real rivalries between grand slam winners, that it has arguably lacked for some time.

Pam Shriver, the great former doubles partner of Martina Navratilova, senses there is the potential for an exciting new dynamic.

Looking ahead to the clash of Swiatek and 21-year-old American Kenin, Shriver said: "We're always wondering where the next great rivalry is going to be. Well, let's just wonder about this one because they are two years apart."

Shriver expressed an eagerness to find out how Saturday's match-up plays out.

"If Swiatek's forehand holds up in the pressure of a major final, that's what is going to give her the best chance," Shriver said in an interview for the Roland Garros website.

"Swiatek has an edge on the forehands. Kenin has shored up her forehand so much the last two years but it can still go a bit wobbly.

"But I guess we know how Kenin shows up in major finals and big matches because she did in Melbourne."

If Swiatek has any concerns, it centres on how her relaxed attitude might be tested by the sense of occasion, should she allow her mind to drift towards its significance.

For one thing, she is the first Polish woman in the Open Era to reach the French Open singles final. Her country has never had a grand slam singles champion.

"Usually I'm that kind of player who is playing better under pressure. If I'm not going to choke up, I think everything will be fine," Swiatek said.

"But, well, there's a reason why I was so efficient. Really I'm staying super focused. I'm not letting my opponents to play their best tennis. So I hope I'm going to do that on Saturday."