Iga Świątek has extended her extraordinary winning streak after a ruthless display against Bianca Andreescu in the Italian Open quarter-finals.
If there were any lingering doubts about who the new dominant force is in women's tennis, Swiatek put them to rest with another incredible performance.
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The Pole hammered 2019 US Open champion Andreescu 7-6 (7-2) 6-0 to reach the semi-finals in Rome and extend her winning streak to 26 matches.
Only three women - the Williams sisters Venus and Serena, plus Justine Henin have longer WTA win streaks since 2000.
The sport was shocked when Australian Ash Barty announced her sudden and immediate retirement while holding the No.1 ranking two months ago.
With Serena Williams not having played in nearly a year, there were plenty of questions about who might step up and assert themselves as the new woman to beat.
Since February, nobody has beaten Swiatek, who assumed the No.1 spot by default when Barty removed herself from the rankings.
Considering her prowess on hard courts, the often-injured Andreescu has been tossed around as a potential No.1 too.
But Swiatek slowly wore the Canadian down in a lengthy first set as she dictated the tiebreaker by moving her opponent from side to side.
In a brutal second set display, Swiatek appeared to find another gear as she blew her hapless Canadian rival off the court, with Andreescu not managing to win a single game.
Extraordinarily, it's the 13th time already this year that Swiatek has managed to 'bagel' an opponent during a set.
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) May 13, 2022
What an absolutely brutal beat on Andreescu +6 for anyone that has that if Swiatek gets this last hold wow #GamblingTwitter
— Patriot Picks (@PatriotPicks) May 13, 2022
Swiatek 7-6 6-0 Andreescu
The first set delivered, with Andreescu bringing it, providing a glimpse of how great this rivalry could be.
But Swiatek is just too confident and too good right now.
26 wins in a row! Only Venus, Serena & Henin have longer WTA win streaks since 2000.
— The Tennis Podcast (@TennisPodcast) May 13, 2022
Iga Swiatek: 27 winners, 12 unforced in her win over Bianca Andreescu. Hard to contend with that.
26 wins on the trot, 13 bagels dished out in 2022 🔥 pic.twitter.com/rjfEWcAIuZ
— Chris Oddo (@TheFanChild) May 13, 2022
Another day, another bagel. Unreal how dominant Swiatek is in second sets.
— MD (@insultcookies) May 13, 2022
Swiatek's 2022 bagel count: 13
— Dr. Balraj Shukla | બલરાજ 🕊 (@balrajshukla) May 13, 2022
— AnnieXavier (@AnnieXavierD) May 13, 2022
Iga Swiatek adds another bagel to her collection. What a run she’s had this season! She’s unstoppable at the moment. 🚀 #WTAtour
— Gods Baby † (@Uruuu_) May 13, 2022
2️⃣6️⃣ and counting!
World number one Iga Swiatek extended her winning run with a quarter-final victory over Bianca Andreescu in the Italian Open.#BBCTennis
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) May 13, 2022
Just a quick...OhMyGod...you are incredible 🤟
— Kris K (@Kris_K78) May 13, 2022
Iga Swiatek sets sights on Venus Williams record
Swiatek has now equalled Victoria Azarenka for the number of consecutive victories on the WTA tour, and is just nine wins away from Venus Williams' record.
The older of the Williams sisters currently holds the record for the longest winning streak in the 21st century - with 35 in a row.
"Being in that kind of group is like a dream come true for me," Swiatek told wta.com.
"I wouldn't think of that when I was younger. I'm pretty happy that I could do that because consistency was the thing I really wanted to work on last year. This year I feel like it clicked."
In all, Swiatek produced 27 winners to Andreescu's 12 and converted all six of her break points.
Swiatek's semi-final opponent will be third-seeded Aryna Sabalenka, who rallied past Amanda Anisimova 4-6 6-3 6-2 for her first victory over the American in five tries.
Also advancing to the last four was recent Madrid Open champion Ons Jabeur, who saw off Greece's Maria Sakkari, 1-6 7-5 6-1. It was the Tunisian's 10th straight win.
Jabeur will face Russia's Daria Kasatkina, whose Swiss opponent, Jil Teichmann, retired with the score at 6-4 3-2.
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