Iga Swiatek booed by Wimbledon crowd as World No 1 knocked out

Iga Swiatek looks stunned as her 21-match winning streak comes to an end

Iga Swiatek looked stunned as her 21-match winning streak came to an end – AP/Alberto Pezzali

Iga Swiatek was booed by the crowd before being unceremoniously dumped out of Wimbledon after suffering a shock third-round defeat to world No 35 Yulia Putintseva.

The world No 1 looked on course to breeze into the last-16 at the All England Club but her terrible record on grass continued as she was stunned 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 on Court One.

The Pole was on a 21-match winning streak heading into this match but struggled to craft her usual clinical brand of tennis as she fell to Putintseva.

Swiatek struck early and claimed the opener, but the Kazakhstan player – who has enjoyed a successful grass season after winning the Birmingham Classic last month – hit back with a brilliant second set where she twice broke the four-time French Open champion.

“It feels really, really great,” Putintseva said in her on-court interview.

“I was feeling it on the court and that is why I was like fire. I was trying to entertain you more and more with my shots.”

Putintseva soaked up the adulation from a raucous Court One crowd that turned on Swiatek after she raced off court before the deciding set for an apparent toilet break. When she eventually returned, boos rang out from an impatient crowd. It was an ominous sign of what was to come, as her woes at Wimbledon continued.

Despite being a five-time grand slam champion, grass remains Swiatek’s greatest nemesis. She has never progressed beyond the quarter-finals at the All England Club.

She looked a shadow of the player who has led the WTA rankings for nearly every week since April 2022. In a measure of her supremacy, she is guaranteed to remain there irrespective of how the women’s draw pans out.

She endured an error-strewn game, coughing up a rare 34 unforced errors to Putintseva’s tally of 18. She later admitted that she had not given herself enough time to rest since her French Open success.

“My tank of really pushing myself to the limits became suddenly, like, empty,” said Swiatek. “I was kind of surprised. But I know what I did wrong after Roland Garros. I didn’t really rest properly. I’m not going to make this mistake again.

“After such a tough clay-court season, I really must have my recovery. Maybe that’s also the reason. But I thought that I’m going to be able to kind of, I don’t know, play at the same level. I feel like on grass I need [a] little bit more of that energy to keep being patient and accept some mistakes. I need to recover better after [the] clay court season, both physically and mentally.”

Swiatek’s fortunes on grass could hardly be more different to her Kazach opponent. Putintseva now has an eight-match run of her own on the surface, including a title at Birmingham before arriving in London. Her triumph is the first time in 10 appearances at Wimbledon that the 29-year-old has made it past the second round.

She next faces a match-up against 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko, who is seeded 13th.

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