Iga Swiatek matches 2015 Serena Williams with 27th successive win
World number one Iga Swiatek will fight for back-to-back titles in Rome after downing third seed Aryna Sabalenka in the semi-finals.
The Pole is pushing for a fourth WTA 1000 title in 2022 and fifth overall after claiming her first at the Italian Open last year.
Swiatek swept aside four-time WTA 1000 champion Sabalenka 6-2, 6-1 despite a disruption to her rhythm when the Belarusian received a medical timeout at 4-1 in the second set.
Sabalenka has now suffered straight sets defeats in each of her last three encounters with Swiatek, losing today, in the final of Stuttgart last month and the quarter-finals in Qatar in February.
The victory also means the 20-year-old matches none other than 23-time singles Slam-winning legend Serena Williams for one of the longest win streaks this century on the WTA tour.
Serena won 27 matches in a row from the 2014 WTA Finals to the 2015 Madrid Open, the forth longest such run of wins since the turn of the millennium.
Her sister Venus is first with 35 straight wins in 2000, Serena herself is second with 34 in 2013, and Justine Henin is third with 32 between 2007 and 2008.
Now, should Swiatek successfully defend her Rome title and claim a second Roland Garros title next month she would match that tally of 35 from Venus.
Next up in Rome she will face either world number 23 Daria Kasatkina or seventh ranked Ons Jabeur.
As the newly-crowned Madrid Open champion Jabeur is a fellow WTA 1000 winner.
Should she meet Swiatek it would be just a third career battle between the pair , with the Tunisian leading 2-1 in that head-to-head after winning at Wimbledon and Cincinnati last summer.
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