Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka set another No 1 vs No 2 final
Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka have set up another clash in a final just two weeks after last meeting in the Stuttgart championship match.
Swiatek booked her spot in the first Madrid Open final of her career with a crushing 6-1, 6-1 victory over 12th seed Veronika Kudermetova.
Meanwhile, Sabalenka overpowered No.9 seed Maria Sakkari, 6-4, 6-1 in Thursday’s semifinals to advance to the championship match which takes place on Satruday.
Sabalenka secured her fifth straight sets win over Sakkari in nine meetings and also improved her career WTA head-to-head against the Greek star to 6-3.
Swiatek was equally clinical in taking just 1 hour and 19 minutes to prevail.
Swiatek will face World No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka in the final for the second consecutive WTA Tour tournament. Sabalenka defeated ninth seed Maria Sakkari in the first semifinal of the day.
Swiatek defeated Sabalenka in the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix final in Stuttgart 11 days ago. Swiatek enters Saturday’s Madrid final with a 5-2 win-loss record versus Sabalenka. The Pole has also won their previous three clay-court encounters.
Sabalenka felt that she found her best tennis in her semi-final win.
“I think it was actually my best match of the tournament,” she said. “I started really well. Then Maria came back.
“But mentally I was staying really strong. I knew that she’s going to fight for every point. It didn’t, how to say, didn’t destroy me that she came back. I was still playing, I was still fighting for every point.
“Yeah, I’m super happy with the level that I played, and especially with my mental game, I would say. I’m more happy with my mental game.”
Swiatek says that there are no easy matches when you face Sabalenka.
“I think every match is different and every match is hard against Aryna, especially. I don’t know if it will be hard or easier, because it’s always hard. I’m just going to be focused and disciplined and try to do my job no matter how she’s going to play or how the conditions will be.
“I always have good feelings about this surface. Even when I’m in a tougher position or when the match is not going the right way I know I have the ability to change something up and I have a Plan B. On clay I feel like I have more weapons and I can use them. It doesn’t matter what the streak is or how many matches I’ve won. I always feel good on clay.”
Sabalenka is relishing the prospect of getting another shot at beating Swiatek in a huge match.
“It’s going to be really amazing if I can beat a player like Iga on clay court. I don’t have to rush things. I just have to wait for my opportunity and I just have to, yeah, take it and go for it.
“I think in Stuttgart I was going crazy when I had these slower shots or shorter shot or approach shot. I was rushing things. I tried to go for winners. This time I’ll just play with more passion, and I’ll just wait for a better shot to finish the point.
“I think it’s really good that we are playing so consistently so we are meeting each other in the finals, and hopefully it can be the same.
“But, yeah, it’s always tough. It’s always great battles. You always have to fight really, really hard against Iga. I’m ready for that.”
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