Swiatek lifts Rome crown for the third time

WORLD number one Iga Swiatek has taken out the 2024 WTA 1000 Rome International with a strong straight sets win over the next best players in the world, Aryna Sabalenka. The top seeded Pole won 6-2 6-3 in an hour and 29 minutes to win her third title in the Italian capital from the past four years.

Swiatek won in Rome back in 2021 and 2022, with the most recent addition being her 21st career WTA Tour singles title, and already a remarkable fourth trophy this year. In another showdown between the world’s best tennis players, Swiatek has surged well clear in the head-to-head with an eighth win in 11th encounters.

“I kind of knew that if I’m going to work hard and if I’m going to be in the right mindset, this is achievable,” Swiatek said post-match. “I’m happy I was so focused and disciplined throughout the tournament to do that.”

Since losing to Sabalenka in the Madrid final 12 months ago, Swiatek has reached nine championship matches and won them all. That anomaly was also the only time the second ranked Belarusian has defeated Swiatek in a final with the Pole having her measure otherwise.

In winning for the third time, Swiatek now has a triple treat of titles at not only Rome, but Roland Garros and Doha as well. The Rome champion said she felt her level was much higher than in her win over Sabalenka in Madrid.

“For sure this match looked a little bit differently than in Madrid,” Swiatek said. “I felt like I’m putting a lot of pressure. I just continued doing that throughout the whole match. Really proud of myself and really happy.”

In the match, Swiatek won 74 and 62 per cent of her first and second serve points compared to Sabalenka’s 56 and 41 per cent respectively. Incredibly, both players brought up seven break point chances, but while Swiatek took four chances, Sabalenka was unable to penetrate the Pole’s serve.

The world number two joked in her post-match speech that she hoped the pair would face off again at the French Open later this month and that she would take the chocolates this time.

“Congrats on an incredible couple of weeks in Rome,” Sabalenka said. “Great stuff, great tennis. 

“I hope we’re going to make it to the final of Roland Garros and I’ll get you there.”

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