Iga Swiatek came through a tricky opening set to beat former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka in the last 16 of the Italian Open and extend her winning streak to 25 matches.
World No. 1 Swiatek rallied from 0-3 down to win 6-4 6-1 and reach the quarter-finals, where she will face Bianca Andreescu, who saw off Petra Martic 6-4 6-4.
Swiatek’s 25-match winning run is the longest since Serena Williams won 27 in a row in 2015.
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Swiatek was made to work hard for victory, especially in a 79-minute first set.
Two-time Grand Slam champion Azarenka broke twice to lead 3-0 and had a point for a 4-1 advantage.
However, Swiatek hit back to level at 3-3 after a hard-fought opening which spanned 43 minutes.
Swiatek fended off three break points to hold for 4-3 and then broke Azarenka, who was angered when a spectator walked down the steps behind her as she was serving at 15-40.
“Close the f*cking gate,” yelled the world No. 16, before double faulting to hand Swiatek the break.
Azarenka complained to the umpire after the game and also swung her racquet at the floor at the start of the next game in frustration at more movement in the crowd.
Swiatek broke again to close out the set, but having had at least one break point in every return game in the opening set, Azarenka continued the trend by breaking immediately in the second set.
But that was the only game she won as Swiatek roared back, winning six games in a row to reach her fifth successive quarter-final.
Swiatek finished with 34 winners to 39 unforced errors, while Azarenka hit 18 winners to 31 unforced errors.
Andreescu reached her first WTA 1000 quarter-final since the 2021 Miami Open as she beat qualifier Martic in one hour and 43 minutes.
Former US Open champion Andreescu saved six of seven break points and converted three of four.
Aryna Sabalenka advanced with a 6-1 6-4 win over Madrid Open runner-up Jessica Pegula and Jil Teichmann beat Elena Rybakina 6-7(3) 6-3 7-5.
Sabalenka will next face Amanda Anisimova after she won an all-American clash 6-2 6-2 against Danielle Collins.
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