Iga Swiatek's 'clinical' act at Madrid Open stuns tennis world

The Polish superstar has extended her extraordinary record in 2023.

Pictured here, Iga Swiatek celebrates during her Madrid Open semi-final win.
Iga Swiatek extended her unbeaten record on clay in 2023 to cruise into the Madrid Open final. Pic: Getty

Iga Świątek has set up a dream Madrid Open tennis final against Aryna Sabalenka after crushing Russia's Veronika Kudermetova in the last four in Spain. The World No.1 booked her spot in another final after a resounding 6-1, 6-1 victory over the World No.12.

Swiatek needed less than 80 minutes to sweep Kudermetova aside in a dominant performance that extends her unbeaten record on clay in 2023. The three-time grand slam winner took just 1 hour and 19 minutes to seal victory in the first WTA 1000 clay-court event of the season.

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Kudermetova simply had no answers to the class of the top seed, whose finesse and shot-making was on full display in the Spanish capital. Swiatek has been in irresistible form on clay since the start of last season, with 27 wins and just one loss over that period of time.

The 21-year-old's solitary defeat in her last 28 matches on clay came against Caroline Garcia in the 2022 Warsaw quarter-finals. Swiatek's semi-final victory in Madrid also sees her equal Caroline Wozniacki for the most WTA 1000 final appearances achieved before her 22nd birthday - dating back 2009 when the WTA 1000 tier was established. The World No.1's stunning form has drawn praise across the tennis world.

Top two clash in dream women's final in Madrid

Swiatek's opponent in the Madrid decider will be a familiar foe in Sabalenka, with the reigning Australian Open champion out to avenge her straight-sets defeat to Swiatek in last month's Stuttgart championship match. The women's final marks the first time the World No.1 and No.2 will square off in a WTA 1000 decider since 2014 when the top-ranked Serena Williams beat World No.2 Li Na for the Miami Open title.

Seen here, Aryna Sabalenka at the Madrid Open.
Aryna Sabalenka will go into the Madrid Open final as an underdog against Iga Swiatek. Pic: Getty

Sabalenka will be chasing a fifth WTA 1000 title, a 13th career title overall and third in 2023 but goes into the match with a worrying record against Swiatek. The Pole has won all three of their previous clay-court meetings and holds a 5-2 win-loss record against Sabalenka over the course of their short careers to date.

In the men's quarter-finals in Madrid, Jan-Lennard Struff stunned World No.5 Stefanos Tsitsipas to become only the third lucky loser to reach the semi-finals of an ATP Masters event. The 33-year-old German, who had lost in the qualifying round before being allotted a place in the main draw, triumphed 7-6 (7/5), 5-7, 6-3.

The 65th-ranked Struff follows Thomas Johansson at Toronto in 2004 and Lucas Pouille at Rome in 2016 as a lucky loser to reach a Masters semi-final. He will now face Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev in Friday's last-four after the Russian won the battle of the underdogs when he edged Zhang Zhizhen 7-6 (7/3), 6-4 in the quarter-finals.

World No.2 and defending champion Carlos Alcaraz, who will celebrate his 20th birthday on Friday, faces Croatia's Borna Coric in the other men's semi-final.

with agencies

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