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Swiatek staying humble for French Open after third Rome title

Published : Monday, 20 May, 2024 at 12:00 AM  Count : 122

ROME, MAY 19: Iga Swiatek refused to take victory at the French Open for granted despite romping to a third Rome title when sweeping aside Aryna Sabalenka 6-2, 6-3 in Saturdays final.

World number one Swiatek will be red-hot favourite to successfully defend her Roland Garros crown afer comfortably prevailing on the clay against second-ranked Sabalenka.

In front of a packed centre court crowd Swiatek became the first woman since Serena Williams in 2013 to win on the clay surface at Madrid and Rome in the same season.

She can join Williams in a European capital city hat-trick if she wins her fourth French Open title, and third in a row, with the clay-court Grand Slam starting in Paris on May 26.

"Obviously I am confident. I feel like Im playing great tennis but that doesn change the fact that I just want to stay humble," Swiatek told reporters.

"Grand Slams are different. Theres a different pressure on the court and off the court. Of course I love to come to Paris and be there. It a great place for me to be and I really enjoy my time there.

"But these are a hard seven matches that you need to win so I don take anything for granted."

Swiatek won her 12th successive match on clay by besting Belarusian Sabalenka as she did in the recent Madrid final.

The Pole took her winning record over Sabalenka to 8-3 in another hugely impressive display from what has been an almost flawless tournament from the four-time Grand Slam winner, who didn drop a single set on her way to another championship victory.

Saturdays match was less dramatic than Madrids three-set thriller as Sabalenka, who has won the two most recent Australian Opens, gave herself too much to do.

Swiatek took the opening set in just 36 minutes in a clinical display of tennis against Sabalenka, who has said repeatedly that Rome is her dream tournament to win.

Going into Saturdays final Swiatek had won 97 percent of her matches in which she went one set ahead since the start of 2022 and Sabalenka didn help her cause by wasting seven break points over two games in the second set.

After Swiatek broke Sabalenkas serve in game seven it was only a matter of time before she closed out the match and championship.

"I would say the first set I didn play well at all. I wasn , I don know, feeling my game well," Sabalenka told reporters.
 
"In the second set I just tried to stay a little bit more aggressive... I just tried to put her a little bit under pressure.
 
"I had couple of opportunities to break her serve. Probably if I would take that opportunity, the match would go differently. I didn use it, so it is how it is."

On Sunday Alexander Zverev bids to win his second Rome title when he faces Nicolas Jarry in the mens final.

Zverev is in his 11th Masters final, equalling Boris Beckers record for the most by a German since the series began in 1990.    —AFP






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