2024 Madrid Open Women's Final Preview: Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka set for scintillating showdown again at Caja Magica

Saturday, 04 May 2024 at 17:03
The rivalry continues on Saturday with the final of the 2024 Madrid Open confirmed and it will see Aryna Sabalenka face off against Iga Swiatek for supremacy at the Caja Magica for a second year in a row.
Our preview as ever recounts their route to the final, head to head and other talking points ahead of this showdown between the top two players in the world right now in the WTA. A special rivalry is set to continue well into the clay court season. We will also have both players' 2024 season on clay for you.

Superb Sabalenka straight back into form

It will be a hat-trick aim for Sabalenka on Saturday with the Belarusian seeing Madrid in a similar vein to Ons Jabeur for instance as a happy hunting ground. She has won the title twice and last year defeated Swiatek 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 to capture her second title. It was also a match that was somewhat infamous due to the post match speeches as Swiatek aimed a dig at Feliciano Lopez, the tournament director about scheduling.
Sabalenka also won the tournament last time out amidst the infamous Cakegate fiasco which was the biggest story in tennis at that time. She also came into this juncture of the clay court season after the worst time of her life likely in a few years. After going from the high of winning the Australian Open, her life was plunged into grief as her ex-boyfriend Konstantin Koltsov passed away as she was preparing for the Miami Open.
After recent issues away from tennis, Aryna Sabalenka has roared back into form.
She showed courage and played still using tennis as her outlet and so it has been somewhat a slow rebuild. She lost to a resurgent Marketa Vondrousova in Stuttgart. But that was a starter for an epic Madrid run. She came into the tournament aiming to win back-to-back matches for only the second time since winning the Australian Open in January. She battled past a slew of names including Magda Linette, Robin Montgomery and the Queen of WTA Tennis in recent times in Danielle Collins. She then saw off Mirra Andreeva and then came the real test as she came within two points of defeat against Elena Rybakina. Champions find a way to win and Sabalenka certainly did that 1-6, 7-5, 7-6(5). It hasn't been an easy road for Sabalenka, but heading into a vital part of the season, she has all the tools to make it a golden one.

Swiatek resumes Queen of Clay moniker

While for Iga Swiatek, it would be a first. A very odd feat given her clay court excellence in the past. But it has been a tournament that has had its hoodoo over the Pole compared to any other clay court tournament. Rome and Roland Garros as well as Stuttgart have been a more happy hunting ground.
After failing in Stuttgart to retain her title, Iga Swiatek will finally aim to add a missing cog to the puzzle.
So it will certainly be a first and will complete a set for her at such an early point in her career as has been the way so far for Swiatek. She has lost only one set across her five wins in Madrid. She rolled past Wang Xiyu, Sorana Cirstea and Sara Sorribes Tormo. Before dropping a set to Beatriz Haddad Maia. But this was a mere blip as she returned to ease past Madison Keys. Rome in particular is where Swiatek thrives as well as of course Roland Garros so certainly ominous signs.

Head-to-Head with 10 matches between the rivals

A rematch of last year's final, it will be a 10th career meeting. The first of the season though with Swiatek holding a 6-3 edge. She won their most recent clash at the WTA Finals in Cancun. Needing to win the match to finish the year as No.1 she won 6-3, 6-2. But of course Sabalenka held the edge last season.
It was kind of the opposite effect during this tournament as Swiatek was battling to become World No.1 at year end and Sabalenka this time has battled to stay as World No.2. But Swiatek has also done a decent job so far of defending her ranking with her clay court prowess meaning a lot more pressure gets lumped on her shoulders. Overall though, it is always a titanic tussle between the pair and one that is bound to thrill again on Saturday.

Sabalenka's 2024 season on clay: 6W/1L

Madrid SF: Sabalenka d. Elena Rybakina 1-6 7-5 7-6(5) in 2:17
Madrid QF: Sabalenka d. Mirra Andreeva 6-1 6-4 in 1:19
Madrid R16: Sabalenka d. Danielle Collins 4-6 6-4 6-3 in 2:24
Madrid R32: Sabalenka d. Robin Montgomery 6-1 6-7(5) 6-4 in 2:29
Madrid R64: Sabalenka d. Magda Linette 6-4 3-6 6-3 in 2:09
Stuttgart QF: Marketa Vondrousova d. Sabalenka 3-6 6-3 7-5 in 2:01
Stuttgart R16: Sabalenka d. Paula Badosa 7-6(4) 4-6 3-3 with Badosa retiring after 2:22

Swiatek's 2024 season on clay: 7W/1L

Madrid SF: Swiatek d. Madison Keys 6-1 6-3 in 1:10
Madrid QF: Swiatek d. Beatriz Haddad Maia 4-6 6-0 6-2 in 2:29
Madrid R16: Swiatek d. Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-1 6-0 in 1:07
Madrid R32: Swiatek d. Sorana Cirstea 6-1 6-1 in 1:18
Madrid R64: Swiatek d. Xiyu Wang 6-1 6-4 in 1:16
Stuttgart SF: Elena Rybakina d. Swiatek 6-3 4-6 6-3 in 2:49
Stuttgart QF: Swiatek d. Emma Raducanu 7-6(2) 6-3 in 2:03
Stuttgart R16: Swiatek d. Elise Mertens 6-3 6-4 in 1:33

Aryna Sabalenka & Iga Swiatek will face each other in the Madrid final. Rematch of last year’s final. Iga leads the head to head 6-3 & won their most recent meeting at the WTA Finals. But Aryna beat her last year to win the title. A special rivalry between the world #1 &…


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