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Iga Swiatek, Aryna Sabalenka to meet in Rome semis

Sportsnaut
Apr 2, 2022; Miami Gardens, FL, USA;  Iga Swiatek (POL) hits a forehand against Naomi Osaka (JPN)(not pictured) in the women's singles final in the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

No. 1 seed Iga Swiatek and third seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus won their respective quarterfinal matches Friday at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia and are set to square off in the semifinals in Rome.

Swiatek, the world No. 1, stretched her winning streak to 26 matches by beating Canadian Bianca Andreescu 7-6 (2), 6-0. Sabalenka rallied to eliminate American Amanda Anisimova 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Swiatek converted all six of her opportunities to break Andreescu’s serve, including three in a perfect second set. She won 14 points in a row early in the second set.

Andreescu, the 2019 U.S. Open champion, wrapped up her deepest run in an event since she returned from a six-month break from tennis for physical and mental recovery.

“I wasn’t really expecting anything because I didn’t actually know how she’s playing after the break,” Swiatek said of her first professional match against Andreescu. “I watched many of her matches before she did that break. Right now I didn’t know if her tennis is the same or it changed a little bit. But I knew that physically I can play longer rallies and also play longer matches. So basically I was ready for that.”

According to the WTA Tour, Swiatek’s 26 wins tie her for the fifth-longest streak of the century, tying Belarusian star Victoria Azarenka.

Swiatek wasn’t the only player to continue a lengthy streak. Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur, the ninth seed, downed Greek fourth seed Maria Sakkari in another three-setter, 1-6, 7-5, 6-1. Jabeur came to Rome off her first WTA 1000 title last week in Madrid, making Friday her 10th straight win.

Jabeur trailed Sakkari 6-1, 5-2 before beginning to mount her comeback.

“In my head at 5-2, I said, ‘You cannot finish those two weeks, those amazing almost three weeks, like this,'” Jabeur said. “That’s what got me started. I’m very happy that I could get the win at the end.”

After winning the last five games of the second set, she stayed hot and went ahead 3-0 in the third set en route to victory. Jabeur finished with four aces and won 34 of her 49 first-service points (69.4 percent).

Jabeur will play Russian Daria Kasatkina in the other semifinal. Kasatkina advanced when Switzerland’s Jil Teichmann retired due to injury down 6-4, 3-2. Teichmann got her left thigh wrapped during a medical timeout and attempted to play again before deciding to retire.

–Field Level Media