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May 4, 2024 5:11 pm

Iga Swiatek rallies past Aryna Sabalenka to win at Madrid

Iga Swiatek

On the brink of defeat, Poland’s Iga Swiatek saved three championship points and rallied to win the Muta Madrid Open title with a 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (7) victory Saturday over defending champion Aryna Sabalenka in a matchup of the top two ranked players in the world.

Swiatek needed three hours, 11 minute to outlast Sabalenka and avenge last year’s loss in the Madrid final.

Down 5-6 in the third set, Swiatek faced two match points on her serve before she salvaged both and ultimately won the game. In the tiebreaker, top-ranked Swiatek had her own match point on serve at 6-5 but lost the point and faced another match point by No. 2-ranked Sabalenka at 7-6.

Swiatek rallied to win the final three points of the tiebreaker, including championship point on Sabalenka’s serve for her 20th career WTA title. Those include three French Open titles, including each of the last two on the clay in Paris.

The 22-year-old became the youngest player to win 20 WTA titles since Caroline Wozniacki in 2012. Swiatek also became the youngest to win eight clay-court titles since Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in 1994.

Sabalenka, who beat Swiatek 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 last year in Madrid, was in the final for the third time in the past four years. The native of Belarus also won in 2021.

Swiatek started in impressive fashion by breaking Sabalenka’s serve in the opening game of the match, but immediately had her serve broken before each began to settle into the match. Swiatek broke again to take a 6-5 lead before finishing off the opening set on her serve.

In the second set, Swiatek was broken in each of her first two service games before she rallied back to even the set 3-3. But Swiatek was broken again as Sabalenka closed out the second set 6-4.

Swiatek improved to 7-3 all-time against Sabalenka.

It was Swiatek’s third title to tie Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan for most this season. They also are tied for most wins with 30.

–Field Level Media

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