• May 23, 2024
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Iga Swiatek wins third title of the season in Madrid open victory over Sabalenka

Iga Swiatek wins third title of the season in Madrid open victory over Sabalenka

Saturday, 4 May, 2024

World number one Iga Swiatek (22) edged Aryna Sabalenka (25) in a stunning Madrid Open final to win the title for the first time on Saturday in what was a repeat of last year’s summit clash at the WTA 1000 claycourt tournament.

Coming back from 1-3 down in the decider and saving three match points in total, Swiatek claimed a 7-5, 4-6, 7-6(7) victory to secure the trophy.

She has now won each of the WTA 1000 and 500 tournaments held on European clay at least once, to go with three French Open titles on the surface at Roland Garros.

Swiatek has won her last eight consecutive finals and now joins Elena Rybakina with 30 victories this season.

“Aryna, to many more finals! It’s always a challenge playing you. Thanks for always motivating me and forcing me to be a better player,” Swiatek said at the trophy presentation.

In warmer temperatures but breezier than usual conditions at the Caja Magica, the pair traded breaks to kick off the final and were neck and neck until Swiatek drew a forehand error from Sabalenka to break for 6-5 and closed out the 61-minute opening set on her first opportunity.

Despite squandering a 2-0 lead early in the second, Sabalenka manifested a set point on Swiatek’s serve in game 10, forcing a decider with a lightning-fast down-the-line forehand winner.

It was the fifth time in six matches this fortnight that Sabalenka found herself embroiled in a three-set duel and she was clearly ready to go the distance.

The defending champion broke for 3-1 in the decider, peppering Swiatek with deep, powerful shots, but her lead was short-lived.

Swiatek saved a pair of match points on her own serve at 5-6 as the high-quality affair fittingly went to a deciding tiebreak.

Sabalenka produced an ace to save match point at 5-6 in the breaker and saw one of her own slip away as Swiatek survived for 7-7.

Moments later, the Polish world number one flung herself to the ground in disbelief as she sealed a heroic victory on a long backhand from two-time champion Sabalenka.

“I tried to make this match as long as possible… Hopefully next year it goes to me,” Sabalenka said.

“Three hours, that’s a long one! Hopefully we recover fast for the next tournament.”She added.

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