Italian Open: Swiatek beats Sabalenka, to face Jabeur in final
World number one Iga Swiatek humbled number three seed Aryna Sabalenka 6-2, 6-1 in the semis of the Italian Open. Notably, she has extended her win streak to 27 matches. She has won 40 of her last 41 sets. The reigning champion will face number nine seed, Ons Jabeur, in the women's singles final later this evening. Jabeur overcame Daria Kasatkina 6-4, 1-6, 7-5.
It would be Swiatek's fifth consecutive WTA tour-level final. She is the first player since Simona Halep in 2017 to make four WTA 1000 finals appearances in a season. She eyes her fifth title this season and eighth overall. As per WTA, the 20-year-old's 27-match win streak is the fourth-longest in this century. Serena Williams had notched 27 straight wins in 2014-15.
Swiatek claimed 63 points in total to Sabalenka's 36. She converted six of her 15 break points. She dished out 15 winners and 15 many unforced errors. Meanwhile, Sabalenka hit eight winners and 31 unforced errors.
As per WTA, Swiatek has a 30-0 win record at WTA 1000s when she has won the first set. Notably, she has a 6-1 record against the Top 10 rivals in 2022, which includes a six-match win streak. Her only loss was at the hands of former number one, Ashleigh Barty, in the semis at the Adelaide International.
"In previous matches, I felt like I'm kind of letting my opponents come back to the match a little bit. This time I wanted to put pressure on my opponent from the beginning till the end," said Swiatek post the win. The Polish player added that her tactic to dominate Sabalenka paid off in this duel.
Jabeur has a 4-2 win-loss record against Kasatkina. She is 21-0 this season whenever she has won the first set. She has won the most matches on clay this season (17). If Jabeur wins the final then she would be the third player after Dinara Safina (2009) and Serena Williams (2013) to win both Madrid Open and Rome Open in a single season.
Jabeur leads the head-to-head count against Swiatek 2-1. The recent Madrid Open winner had won their last two meets in 2021 (Wimbledon and Cincinnati Open). She had lost in three sets at the 2019 Citi Open. This will be their first meeting on clay.