If there were any lingering questions about who is the new dominant force in women’s tennis, Iga Swiatek ended that with a 7-6(2), 6-0 victory over 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu on Friday to reach the Italian Open. semi-finals and extend his winning streak to 26 matches.
The sport was shocked when Ash Barty announced her sudden and immediate retirement despite holding the No.1 ranking two months ago. Add to that that Serena Williams hasn’t played in almost a year and there were plenty of questions about who might step in and assert herself as the new woman to beat.
Well, since February no one has beaten Swiatek, who defaulted to first place when Barty dropped out of the standings.
Given her hard-court prowess, the often-injured Andreescu of Mississauga, Ont., has been slated as a potential No. 1. But Swiatek slowly wore Andreescu down in a long first set as she dictated the tiebreaker by displacing her opponent. from one end to the other.
In all, Swiatek produced 27 winners to Andreescu’s 12 and converted all six of his break points.
WATCH | Andreescu becomes Swiatek’s latest victim:
Swiatek’s semifinal opponent will be third-seeded Aryna Sabalenka, who edged past Amanda Anisimova 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 for her first win over the American in five tries.
In the men’s tournament, fifth-placed Stefanos Tsitsipas served 10 aces to defeat 20-year-old Jannik Sinner 7-6(5), 6-2 at Foro Italico.
It’s the third straight Masters semi-final on clay for Tsitsipas, who defended his Monte Carlo Masters title last month and then was beaten by Alexander Zverev in the Madrid Open semi-final at the weekend. end last.
Tsitsipas will face Zverev again in the semi-finals in Rome after the 2017 champion beat Cristian Garin 7-5, 6-2.
Swiatek is looking to win his fifth tournament in a row and defend his title in Rome.
The last player to win more consecutive games was Williams, who had a 27-game winning streak in 2014 and 2015.
Swiatek’s run makes her a favorite to win a second French Open title when the second Grand Slam of the year kicks off in nine days. When Swiatek won at Roland Garros in 2020, she was ranked No. 54, making her the lowest-ranked woman to win the Paris major in the Open era.
Swiatek’s recent success has also given her a comfortable 2,000 point lead in the standings over No. 2 Barbora Krejcikova, who is currently injured.
Tsitsipas kept his cool with nearly the entire crowd of 10,500 fans backing Sinner, the 13th-ranked Italian and seen as a future Grand Slam contender.
Sinner is down to 0-12 in his career against top-five ranked opponents.
There was a break of more than 10 minutes when Tsitsipas held his second match point because a spectator fell ill near the top of the stadium. But Tsitsipas kept his composure and won the point when play resumed by executing a bunt and responding with a forehand winner down the line.