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Swiatek extends winning streak to 26; to meet Sabalenka in Rome semis

Swiatek leads Sabalenka 2-1 in career head-to-head and is now two wins away from a fifth successive title

Poland's Iga Swiatek during her quarter final match at the Italian Open Poland’s Iga Swiatek during her quarter final match at the Italian Open Image Credit: AI / Reuters / Panoramic

WTA Rome 1000 | Draws Schedule

Poland’s Iga Swiatek continued her unbeaten run, beating former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu in straight sets at the Internazionali d’Italia in Rome on Friday to score her 26th match in a row.

The top-ranked Swiatek has won the last four tournaments she has played and is gunning for her fifth title in a row this week. On Friday, in a first meeting between two of the most exciting young players on the women’s tour, Swiatek went ahead a break on two occasions, to lead 2-0 and 5-3, but Andreescu fought back each time.

The set went down to the wire and Swiatek dominated the tiebreak 7-2. The Pole then eased through the second set, breaking Andreescu thrice to complete the 7-6, 6-0 and advance to Saturday’s semi-finals.

Swiatek’s 26 wins tie her with Victoria Azarenka for most consecutive wins on the WTA Tour since 200. The only players ahead of her are Venus Williams (35 wins), Serena Williams (34) and Justine Henin (32).

“Being in that kind of group is like a dream come true for me. I wouldn’t think of that when I was younger. I’m pretty happy that I could do that because consistency was the thing I really wanted to work on last year. This year I feel like it clicked, so I’m pretty happy.”

Sabalenka scores first win over Animisova to set up Swiatek clash

Aryna Sabalenka
Aryna Sabalenka (Zuma/Panoramic)

The task to end Swiatek’s unbeaten run will now rest on third seed Aryna Sabalenka‘s shoulders. The Belarusian, who began the year struggling with double faults and a loss of form, came from behind to defeat American Amanda Anisimova 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in another quarter-finals.

This was Sabelenka’s first win over Anisimova in five career meetings, including two losses on clay this year – in Charleston and Madrid.

Saturday’s clash between Swiatek and Sabalenka will be the fourth between the two players, with the Pole leading 2-1. Both of Swiatek’s wins over Sabalenka have come in 2022 – in the quarter-finals in Doha and the final in Stuttgart, the last event that the world No 1 played.

Despite their two recent matches, Swiatek says Saturday’s semi-final will be a different match.

“Here I feel like it’s the slowest surface on tour. For sure I need to adjust. Honestly, we only have like three or four tournaments on clay, and only two of them are like on ‘normal clay’, because in Madrid there’s altitude, which is pretty crazy. When I think about my opponents, I don’t really have a vision of how they play on clay because I didn’t watch their matches. I know that my coach is going to do a great job tactically. I can’t tell you right now what’s the difference. I guess we’ll see tomorrow.”

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