Iga Swiatek is into the semi-finals of the Italian Open after a convincing 7-6(2) 6-0 win over Bianca Andreescu.
The Rome defending champion will play Aryna Sabalenka in the semi-finals, who she beat in the Stuttgart final, as the Pole bids to win her fifth successive WTA tour title.
Only Venus Williams, Serena Williams and Justine Henin have won more matches in a row than Swiatek since 2000. The world No. 1 says it is an honour to be in the same category as them.
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"Being in that kind of group is like a dream come true for me," she said after the match.
"I wouldn't think of that when I was younger. I'm pretty happy that I could do that because consistency was the thing I really wanted to work on last year. This year I feel like it clicked."
A topsy-turvy opening set saw both players break each other's serve three times, but it was Swiatek who took control in the tie-break.
The Pole went a mini-break up at 2-1 after unleashing an unreturnable return of serve off her backhand.
The line judge called the winner out, but the official was overruled by the chair umpire and Swiatek was given the point, much to the frustration of Andreescu who felt the point should have been replayed.
Swiatek got another mini-break in the tie-break to go 5-2 up after Andreescu's forehand bounced off the net cord and out. The Pole wrapped up the set with a cross-court backhand winner in 70 minutes.
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The second set was far more straightforward for Swiatek as she broke in the opening game when Andreescu lashed a wild backhand wide.
And the breaks just kept coming for Swiatek with Andreescu visibly tiring. The 20-year-old sealed the win on her third match point thanks to an Andreescu unforced error.
Earlier on Friday, Sabalenka beat Amanda Anisimova for the first time 4-6 6-3 6-2.
The Belarusian had lost four out of the five times the two players have met on the WTA tour, including in Charleston and Madrid this year, but the No. 3 seed booked her place in the final four for the second time in 2022 with a fine comeback win.
JABEUR FIGHTS BACK TO BEAT SAKKARI
On the other side of the draw, Madrid champion Ons Jabeur came back from a set and 3-0 down to beat Maria Sakkari 1-6 7-5 6-1.
Jabeur has extended her winning streak to ten matches after Sakkari squandered her opportunity to serve out the match in the second set.
"In my head at 5-2, I said, 'You cannot finish those two weeks, those amazing almost three weeks, like this,'" Jabeur said afterwards.
"That's what got me started. I'm very happy that I could get the win at the end.
"It's not easy to play Maria, no? I know she hits really hard. I couldn't find my rhythm at the beginning. But I'm glad with a little bit experience that I have, I could pull off the win."
Sakkari got off to the perfect start when Jabeur was broken in her opening service game. After the Greek rescued a break point in the fifth game, she was able to seal a double break in the sixth before wrapping up the first set in 34 minutes.
The Tunisian quickly went 3-0 down in the second set and it looked as though Sakkari would serve out the match after surging into a 5-2 lead, but Jabeur was able to recover a break when her opponent whipped a forehand long.
Jabeur held her next service game and then levelled at 5-5 with a sliced dropshot at the net. On the Sakkari serve with a 6-5 lead, she forced a decider with a forehand winner.
Sakkari appeared frustrated and was tight on her own serve which allowed Jabeur to break in the opening game. The Tunisian took just 10 minutes to race into a 3-0 lead.
A fourth Sakkari double fault in the decider gave Jabeur a 5-1 lead and she completed the victory comfortably on her serve.
Jabeur will play Daria Kasatkina, who progressed to the semi-finals after Jill Teichmann had to retire through injury in the evening session.
The Russian was leading 6-4 3-2, playing with great variety, when a tearful Teichmann decided she could not carry on due to a problem with her left thigh.
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