WTA

Swiatek to face Sabalenka in Stuttgart final after Jabeur retirement

By Sports Desk April 22, 2023

Defending champion Iga Swiatek will face Aryna Sabalenka in the Stuttgart Open final after Ons Jabeur was forced to retire from their semi-final with a left calf injury.

World number one Swiatek was 3-0 up against Jabeur when her tearful opponent called a medical timeout and ultimately ended the contest early.

It sets up a mouthwatering showdown between top seed Swiatek and second seed Sabalenka, who defeated Anastasia Potapova in straight sets earlier on Saturday.

Jabeur, who struggled to shake off the injury sustained in the first game, said: "The third point, I don't know what happened.

"I was really excited to play Iga today – it's always a fun match between us. I wish her the best luck for the final. I'm sorry guys, I really tried to run, but Iga never makes it easy."

Sabalenka, a beaten finalist in the past two years, held her serve in the opening set against Potapova and twice broke her unseeded opponent to take the lead.

The Belarusian raced 4-0 ahead in the second set and saw out a comfortable 6-1 6-2 victory in a little under an hour to reach her fourth final of the year.

"I think I was really focused, and I think from the very first point I was playing really aggressive," Sabalenka said in her on-court interview. "I didn't give [Potapova] much time. 

"I think that's why the match finished like that quick. But anyway, she's a great player, and I think in the future she's going to be a top player."

Swiatek defeated Sabalenka in last year's Stuttgart final 6-2 6-2 and is aiming to become the first player to defend the title since Angelique Kerber in 2016.

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