Aryna Sabalenka defeated Iga Swiatek to claim the Madrid Open title for the second time in her career.
The world number two produced a dominant display, clinching victory in three sets, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, to end Swiatek’s nine-match winning streak. Sabalenka avenged her defeat to the Polish star in the Stuttgart final a fortnight ago with a thrilling triumph. The match marked the first WTA 1000 final featuring the top two ranked players since 2014.
Sabalenka started the game explosively, displaying great intensity in her serve and forehand. She earned two break points early on but failed to convert. Swiatek held her serve for 3-3.
Sabalenka earned a break for a 5-3 lead when Swiatek sent a backhand long, and she clinched the first set, her first ever against Swiatek on clay, having lost their three previous clay clashes.
Swiatek converted her first break point in the second set, taking a 2-0 lead as Sabalenka pushed a return into the net. The world number one consolidated her lead to love. Sabalenka bounced back by earning four break points at 3-1 down and getting back on serve with a beefy backhand winner down the line.
Swiatek broke again for 5-3 and served out the set to force the decisive third set.
In the final set, Sabalenka broke for a 2-0 lead and saved a break point with a vicious forehand to consolidate. Swiatek broke back, but Sabalenka regained her advantage with a 5-3 lead and clinched the title on her fourth championship point with a forehand cross-court winner.
Sabalenka was delighted with her win, saying, “I’m just super happy with this win, especially against Iga on the clay, it’s always tough matches against her.” Swiatek congratulated her opponent, saying, “Congrats Aryna for an amazing match, you play such an intense tennis and every match is a challenge, so congrats, you deserve it.”
The men’s final will take place on Sunday, with home favourite and world number two Carlos Alcaraz defending his title against German lucky loser Jan-Lennard Struff.
Meanwhile, Swiatek aimed a jab at the tournament organizers for the late-night matches, saying, “It’s not fun to play at 1am though.”