The world number one arrived on Court 1 to face Alize Cornet on a run of 37 straight victories, reeling off six tournaments including the French Open in the process to establish herself as the dominant force in the women’s game.
However, Cornet stunned Swiatek as she sealed her place in the fourth round at Wimbledon for just the second time in her career with a 6-4 6-2 win.
While Swiatek has swatted aside all before her in recent months, there have been signs of vulnerability this week. The Pole’s opening match was her first since the final at Roland Garros, as she prioritised rest over grass-court preparations. Lucky loser Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove took a set off the top seed in the second round.
Cornet went one better than that, doing what nobody has done since Jelena Ostapenko in Dubai. When Swiatek broke early in the second set a charge from her looked almost inevitable, but Cornet’s response was a sensational one. The Frenchwoman won six games in a row, sealing a famous victory with a hold to love as Swiatek produced her 3rd unforced error of a messy performance.
“This kind of match is what I live for, what I’m practising for, it drives me and I knew I could do it,” Cornet said.
“I had this belief even with her wins, I thought there is a moment you can beat her it’s now on grass so I was just believing very hard and I have the best team by my side and the best crowd. I guess I like the upsets, it’s a really nice feeling right now and I need to process because I still feel like I’m playing I’m not completely realising what I’ve done.
“I’m like good wine, in France good wine always ages well, that’s what’s happened to me. It’s unreal - I’m playing one of the best seasons of my career I feel great on the court.”
There was disappointment for Coco Gauff, who reached the fourth round in each of her first two main-draw appearances at Wimbledon but had her journey ended a match earlier this year, as she fell to defeat against fellow American Amanda Anisimova.
Gauff reached the final at the French Open, when she managed just four games against Swiatek, and hopes of another deep Grand Slam run have been dashed.
After taking the tie-break in the first set, the 18-year-old was well beaten as Anisimova rushed through the rest of the match to secure a 6-7 6-2 6-1 victory. The 20th seed will next face Harmony Tan, who has already knocked out Serena Williams and Katie Boulter.
It was another stress-free afternoon for Simona Halep, who breezed past Magdalena Frech with a 6-4 6-1 win. This is Halep’s first return to Wimbledon since going all the way in 2019 and she is yet to drop a set in the tournament.
She will face Paula Badosa in the fourth round, with the Spaniard matching the best Wimbledon performance of her career by reaching the last-16.
The fourth seed had a tricky Centre Court assignment against two-time SW19 champion Petra Kvitova but came through a tight encounter 7-5 7-6 in just over two hours.
Badosa played just one competitive grass-court match in the build-up to Wimbledon, a first-round defeat to Britain’s Jodie Burrage at Eastbourne, but has found her form and like Halep has three straight-sets wins under her belt.