Astonishing Iga SWIATEK reigns supreme in Madrid Open after thrilling battle against Aryna SABALENKA

Saturday, 04 May 2024 at 21:58
Iga Swiatek (No. 1) overcame Aryna Sabalenka (No. 2) with a scoreline of 7-5, 4-6, 7-6(7) to clinch the Madrid Open title for the first time in her career. The Polish player now boasts 20 professional titles and 9 WTA 1000 titles so far, marking an intense battle between the two top-ranked players.
The match was a rematch of the 2023 final, a rarity not seen since the years 2009-2010 when finalists Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal faced off in consecutive years, with Federer winning first and then Nadal. This time, Swiatek avenged Sabalenka's victory from a year earlier.
Swiatek reached the final with a series of commanding victories, breezing through the semifinals against Madison Keys in just one hour (6-1, 6-3), while Sabalenka had to stage a comeback against Elena Rybakina to secure the win in a third-set tie-break (1-6, 7-5, 7-6).

Nerve-wracking showdown at Caja Magica

The first set was a showcase of high-quality tennis right from the start. Both players secured an early break, highlighting the pressure of the moment. From then on, they showed greater consistency on serve: Swiatek had a 61% first serve percentage, winning 70% of those points, similar to Sabalenka who had a 68% first serve percentage and won 69% of those points.
The set remained evenly matched until 5-5, with neither player dominating, and both had already saved several break points against them. In the 11th game, Swiatek capitalized on one of the two opportunities her opponent gave her and secured the crucial break to then close out the first set on her serve, 7-5, taking the lead after over an hour of play.
In the second set, things took a turn as Sabalenka secured the first break and raced to a 2-0 lead in just a few minutes. However, it was a period of greater inconsistency for both players on serve, with four consecutive breaks, but they returned to parity at 3-3.
Iga Swiatek totalized 35 winners and 37 unforced errors in the match
Both players defended their service games well, but similar to the previous set, the break came at the most pressure-filled moment. Sabalenka was up 5-4 and seized her only opportunity to send the match to a third set with a 6-4 victory, as the match approached the two-hour mark.
In the third set, both player let up the intensity, and the pressure was felt from both sides. The Belarusian saved a couple of break points in the third game and then capitalized on her first opportunity in the following game to take a 3-1 lead while playing her best tennis. But the No. 1 still had something to say and immediately recovered the break.
The tension escalated until the 12th game, arguably the most gripping game of the match, where Swiatek was against the ropes but managed to fend off two match points before taking it all to the tie-break.
Both conceded a mini-break before Swiatek earned her first match point at 6-5, but Sabalenka saved it with an ace. Then, a crosscourt forehand error from the Polish player handed her opponent her third championship point, but she couldn't capitalize on it either.
Finally, Swiatek secured the mini-break with Sabalenka's serve, and after fending off three match points against her, she claimed the title by 7-5, 4-6, 7-6(7) in an exhilarating celebration. This victory marks her ninth WTA 1000 title and brings her total professional titles to 20.

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