Iga Swiatek - Indian Wells 2024, Aryna Sabalenka - Australian Open 2024

Iga Swiatek ‘is incredible’ says Aryna Sabalenka after losing Rome final

Iga Swiatek has beaten Aryna Sabalenka in a second consecutive clay court final, and the Belarusian has described what makes it so difficult to play the world No.1.

Swiatek claimed her third Italian Open title after beating Sabalenka, 6-2 6-3, to back up her victory in Madrid.

As a result, the Pole has become only the third woman in history to complete the Madrid-Rome double alongside Serena Williams (2013) and Dinara Safina (2009).

In the post-match speeches, Swiatek thanked Sabalenka for bringing out the best in her, “Aryna, it was another great battle. After Madrid I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. It can go one of two ways. Thanks for sharing the court with me and really pushing me to get better. We’ll see about the Roland Garros final.”

Swiatek and Sabalenka have played each other on 11 occasions, and it is the former leading the head-to-head with eight victories.

On clay Swiatek has only lost one match against Sabalenka, which came in the Madrid Open final last year.

And Sabalenka has described what is so difficult about playing Swiatek, heaping praise on her rival, “Well, I think her movement is incredible. You always know that you have to build the point and you have to finish the point. It’s not going to be an easy point anyway. You have to be really there 100%.

“I think that stays in the back of my mind, and that’s why sometimes I try to overhit balls, knowing she’s going to get to it. I think that’s something I’m going to work next week, try not to over-rush stuff, trust myself, my game, that I’m able to stay in the point as long as needed.”

The two-time Australian Open champion added, “But yeah, I would say her movement is really, really good. Obviously she’s playing really smart. You can see that during the game. She’s No.1. I would say she’s really good in every asset of the game.”

Both Swiatek and Sabalenka will now have a week away from competition, before taking to the second major of the year at Roland Garros.

Inside the baseline…

Iga Swiatek just keeps on impressing and dominating the WTA Tour, and is now at her record ranking points tally of 11,695. This final against Aryna Sabalenka was much more plain-sailing for Swiatek than in Madrid, and with the clay of Rome often seen as more similar than Roland Garros it has put the world No.1 in a great position to claim her fourth title at the Paris major – and she is still only 22-years-old!

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.