Iga Swiatek's 'ridiculous' act in wake of Ash Barty retirement
Iga Swiatek continues to assert her dominance in women's tennis in the wake of Ash Barty's retirement, winning her fourth-consecutive title on Sunday.
The new World No.1 swept past Aryna Sabalenka in straight sets to claim the Stuttgart title on Sunday with her 23rd victory in a row.
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The 20-year-old added the Stuttgart title to triumphs in Doha, Indian Wells and Miami.
The former French Open champion had breezed through the opening rounds of the WTA 500 clay-court tournament before facing her biggest test in the semi-finals, where she battled back from a set down to overcome Ludmilla Samsonova on Saturday.
The Polish star then showed little signs of fatigue from that marathon clash as she saved an early break point and raced to a 3-0 lead before holding firm and taking the opening set when third-seeded Sabalenka, last year's runner-up, double-faulted.
The pair had split their previous meetings - in last year's WTA Finals and the Qatar Open in February - but it was the in-form Swiatek who excelled in their first clay-court match, dealing effortlessly with her opponent's big hitting.
The error-prone Sabalenka looked to mount a comeback after a crucial hold of serve at the start of the second set, but Swiatek switched gears to break for a 4-2 lead and completed the victory when the Belarusian sent a shot long.
"It was a tough match, we fought for every game, hopefully there will be many more to come," said Swiatek.
She thanked her team for helping her recover in the short time between her semi-final win, which lasted just over three hours.
"Thank you for giving me life again," she said.
"The atmosphere was amazing and it was great to see all the Polish flags, it's such a huge support for us."
Iga Swiatek cashing in on Ash Barty's retirement
Swiatek's incredible run of form has coincided with Barty's decision to retire from tennis at age 25.
With Barty now gone, there's no doubt who is currently ruling women's tennis.
Swiatek was the first Polish player to win a grand slam singles title at the French Open in 2020.
She has now won seven career titles.
Her tally of 23-consecutive victories sees Swiatek match Naomi Osaka's winning streak from 2020-21 and is approaching Venus Williams' record of 35 triumphs on the WTA tour.
Since losing her first WTA final as a 17-year-old in 2019, Swiatek has since won seven finals in a row.
She is also the first player to chalk up 30 match wins this season, with her sole loss coming against a top-10 opponent coming against Barty in Adelaide in January.
"Doha. Indian Wells. Miami. Stuttgart. I would be truly terrified of Iga Swiatek if I were on the WTA Tour," tweeted tennis writer Yasmin Syed.
"What she’s doing is utterly ridiculous and the ease at which she’s doing it makes it even more unbelievable."
Carlos Morgado tweeted: "Iga Swiatek, just TOO good. 4 consecutive titles. 23 consecutive wins. It's just insane."
Doha. Indian Wells. Miami. Stuttgart.
I would be truly terrified of Iga Swiatek if I were on the WTA Tour. What she’s doing is utterly ridiculous and the ease at which she’s doing it makes it even more unbelievable.
— Yasmin Syed (@yasminstefsyed) April 24, 2022
Iga Swiatek, just TOO good.
Beats Aryna Sabalenka 6-2, 6-2 to win Stuttgart.
4 consecutive titles.
23 consecutive wins.
It's just insane.
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) April 24, 2022
The most perfect thing to follow an unstoppable Ash Barty is an unstoppable Iga Swiatek https://t.co/VZdvhbrtog
— Anna Mendoza (@banannarep) April 24, 2022
Yes, I believe Swiatek would have passed Barty this week. https://t.co/JZIcEzdrOM
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) April 24, 2022
Doha .. Indian Wells .. Miami .. Stuttgart: Iga Swiatek has now won four titles and 23 matches in a row. She always looked a world number 1 in the making, but given Ash Barty’s sudden retirement, the timing for the women’s game is immaculate.
— Russell Fuller (@russellcfuller) April 24, 2022
Im still gutted we won’t get the rivalry of Swiatek and Barty! It could have been amazing! Barty has helped make iga the player she is today!
— Venus Williams Fandom (@QueenVee_Fandom) April 24, 2022
Ultimately, all of Iga Swiatek’s achievements are purely a result of Ashleigh Barty’s absence.
— Susan Waterman (@SusanWaterman02) April 24, 2022
Pro tennis: facing down the Djokovic saga, the end of the Big 3 era generally, the twilight of Serena, Barty’s retirement, could not have asked for a better time for Iga Świątek and Carlos Alcaraz to grow into stars before our eyes. https://t.co/YQi1vTsbZo
— Three Games to Love ⚾️⚽️🎾 and also 🏀 (@3GamesToLove) April 24, 2022
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