Queen of Clay Iga Swiatek ascends Rome Open throne again after straight sets win over Aryna Sabalenka

Saturday, 18 May 2024 at 18:35
In a pretty underwhelming clash given the pre-match billing, it was Iga Swiatek who came out on top in the battle of the top two in the WTA Rankings to win the Rome Open for a third time and become part of a select group to win both Madrid and Rome.
Swiatek saw off Aryna Sabalenka 6-2, 6-3 in just over an hour and a half in their second final in as many tournaments and another meeting between the two best players in the world. But going into Roland Garros, it will be the World No.1 in particular with a lot of confidence.
It is a 21st title, 10th WTA 1000 title and like alluded to, a third Rome Open crown for Swiatek. She becomes the third woman in history to win Madrid and Rome back-to-back and is the fifth overall.
The first set in particular was a pretty one sided affair as Swiatek eased to a set and a break up despite neither player being technically at their best. It seems that the Madrid Open final was very much the landmark of the clay court season thus far and it is backwards from there.
Sabalenka lost her serve twice at 2-1 and 5-2 to allow Swiatek a pretty simple route through to the first set. Swiatek did not have a break point against her during the opening set and was fairly pedestrian throughout the opening stanza. The second set was more of a Sabalenka showing that she would've wanted, just without the end product.
Sabalenka had 7 break points across two games in the opening few games of the second set. But she failed to take them and after a pretty back and forth opening gambit which saw them locked in at 3-3, she lost her serve at that juncture and it was very much all over from there.
Swiatek took the next few games with Sabalenka unable to compete as Swiatek turned on the afterburners and it was very much game over. But interestingly before Sabalenka's last major title at the Australian Open, she also suffered a fairly one sided defeat to Elena Rybakina in Brisbane. Will it be a sign that she will get over the line at Roland Garros or will Queen of Clay Swiatek ascend to her throne again? Time will tell. But not the final perhaps that was expected.

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