Iga Swiatek: ‘I’m playing better and better every day’

Iga Swiatek celebrates

World No 1 Iga Swiatek is thrilled with her progress in Madrid after she reached the last four at the WTA 1000 event for the first time.

Swiatek is chasing her third title of the season after enjoying a winning start to her clay swing in Stuttgart.

Croatia’s Petra Martic was on the wrong end of a bagel from the famous Swiatek bakery despite looking impressive in beating former French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova.

After a 6-0, 6-3 win over Martic, achieved in just 69 minutes, Swiatek goes on to face 12th seed Veronika Kudermetova in the last four.

“I feel like I’m playing better and better every day,” Swiatek said afterwards. “This is pretty great, because I didn’t know if that was going to be possible at the beginning of the tournament. But I was patient and I was hoping to get that feeling, and today was for sure a good day.”

Swiatek has never lost to Kudermetova but she won’t be underestimating an opponent enjoying a career-best run at a WTA 1000 tournament.

“For me, it doesn’t really matter what our head-to-head is,” Swiatek said. “I’m just going to focus on myself and what I want to do on court, tactically. It’s never easy to play a semifinal. In semifinals, there are players who’ve played already a great tournament. … I’ll just be ready.”

Swiatek won the opening seven games of Wednesday’s quarterfinal until Martic broke through with a hold to 30 in the second set’s first game on her delivery.

Swiatek only dropped eight points in the first set, seven of which came on her serve. She dropped three of those points in the third game of the match, which she eventually won after saving a break point to go up 3-0 early.

The rankings queen is presently 19-2 in WTA quarterfinal matches. Strangely both losses have come on her favoured clay courts, against Maria Sakkari at Roland Garros in 2021 and Caroline Garcia at her home event, the WTA 250 in Warsaw in 2022.

Swiatek now owns an eight-match winning streak on clay and she looks set to stretch her lead at the top of the rankings although No 2 Aryna Sabalenka is still active and able to cut that gap down.

Sabalenka will face Maria Sakkari in the first of Madrid Open semi-finals on Thursday. Swiatek will face Kudermetova in the evening match at the Manolo Santana.

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