Novak Djokovic battled back to remain on course for a fifth successive Wimbledon men’s title on the day women’s world number one Iga Swiatek suffered a quarter-final exit.

Defending champion Djokovic swatted aside Andrey Rublev to set up a semi-final clash with Jannik Sinner, while Swiatek’s hopes were ended by the impressive Elina Svitolina.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at how day nine at the All England Club unfolded.

No stopping Novak

Novak Djokovic equalled Roger Federer’s record for the most men’s grand slam singles semi-final appearances by coming from a set down to defeat Andrey Rublev.

The Serbian’s 4-6 6-1 6-4 6-3 victory sent him through to the last four at a major for the 46th time and extended his winning run at Wimbledon to 33 matches.

Djokovic is now only two wins away from yet another grand slam title and, although his performance was not quite perfect, it was another demonstration of what it will take to stop the 36-year-old lifting the trophy for an eighth time.

Jannik Sinner will be the next man to try and do that after he booked the first grand slam semi-final of his career by beating Roman Safiullin 6-4 3-6 6-2 6-2.

Tweet of the daySvitolina sinks Swiatek

Elina Svitolina claimed the mother of all victories by knocking out top seed Iga Swiatek.

The unseeded Ukrainian, who only gave birth to her daughter Skai nine months ago, ousted Swiatek with a dramatic 7-5 6-7 (5) 6-2 victory on Centre Court.

She has now beaten four grand slam singles champions – Venus Williams, Sofia Kenin, Victoria Azarenka and now Swiatek – to become the first wildcard into the last four of the women’s draw in SW19 since 2011.

it sets up a semi-final meeting with 2019 French Open finalist Marketa Vondrousova, who earlier upset world number four Jessica Pegula.

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Elina Svitolina claimed the mother of all victories by knocking out world number one Iga Swiatek to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals.

The unseeded Ukrainian, who only gave birth to her daughter Skai nine months ago, ousted top seed Swiatek with a dramatic 7-5 6-7 (5) 6-2 victory on Centre Court.

Swiatek, just as she had in her previous match against Belinda Bencic, came from a set down to draw level and seemed to have snatched the momentum.

But with Jeremy Clarkson watching from the crowd, Svitolina found top gear just when she needed it to secure a famous victory.

“I don’t know what is happening right now, it’s really unbelievable,” Svitolina, also a semi-finalist here in 2019, said.

“I’m really, really happy that I got this chance to play here again. I was fighting, it was not easy. Iga is world number one and always fighting. It was an unbelievable match and I’m really happy I could win this one.”

Swiatek looked dialled in from the start this time, breaking the Svitolina serve in the opening game.

But as she served for the set, the 22-year-old from Warsaw gifted Svitolina a break back to love with an uncharacteristically sloppy game, topped off with a double-fault.

Swiatek was rattled and Svitolina began finding her range, punishing a second serve to bring up two set points and edging in front when Swiatek’s backhand floated long.

A slight delay as the roof was closed gave Swiatek a chance to regroup but a hold to love at the start of the second set meant Svitolina had won 10 of the previous 12 points.

However, nerves started to kick in when, at 40-0, Svitolina missed the simplest of volleys at the net and then double-faulted, allowing Swiatek to break.

Swiatek then got a dose of the jitters herself, a double-fault giving Svitolina two break points and a long forehand levelling the set at 3-3.

Svitolina dug out a second ace of the match to go 4-1 ahead in the tie-break but Swiatek reeled her back in with a couple of rasping forehands which clipped the line and an exquisite backhand winner.

But Svitolina came again, breaking the reigning French and US Open champion twice to lead 4-1 in the decider.

Two more aces made it 5-1 and despite some late resistance from the Pole Svitolina came through, covering her mouth with her hand in utter shock when Swiatek hit the net on match point.

Swiatek has been a huge supporter of the Ukrainian cause following the Russian invasion and wears a blue and yellow ribbon in her cap.

Svitolina, whose emotional win over Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in the fourth round was one of the matches of the tournament, added: “Iga is not only a great champion but an unbelievable person.

“She was one of the first who really helped the Ukrainian people, she was a huge help. So for sure it’s not easy to play someone that you share a lot of good moments. Not easy for her either but I’m really proud I could win this one.”

Tension will be replaced by appreciation when Elina Svitolina takes on Iga Swiatek for a place in the Wimbledon semi-finals on Tuesday.

The All England Club can have barely heard a reaction like the chorus of booing that accompanied Victoria Azarenka off Court One following her narrow defeat by Svitolina on Sunday evening.

Ukrainian players refuse to shake hands with Russian or Belarusian opponents at the end of matches as a result of the invasion of their country and there has been significant locker room rancour about how the issue has affected tennis.

 

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The WTA has been criticised for not offering enough support to its Ukrainian members, who feel the rights of their Russian and Belarusian counterparts have been prioritised.

An exception to that has been Swiatek, with the Pole using her voice and platform to speak up for Ukraine and organising a charity exhibition event last summer.

“She’s a great champion, also a great person,” said Svitolina. “I’m really thankful for her support of Ukrainians, Ukraine, doing everything what is in her power, being vocal about that.”

Swiatek wears a blue and yellow ribbon to show she is still thinking about Ukraine, and she said of Svitolina: “For sure we respect each other. We like each other. It’s all pretty positive.

“It’s good to have these kind of players on tour that are nice and they have good values, I think. I’m happy that she’s back after becoming a mother. I don’t know how tough it is, but I’m sure it’s really tough.

“I’m happy that she’s playing a solid game. I think it’s going to be interesting.”

Svitolina has now reached back-to-back grand slam quarter-finals having only returned to the tour in April following the birth of daughter Skai in October.

The former world number three has made two grand slam semi-finals, at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2019, while Swiatek, who saved match points against Belinda Bencic in round four, is having her best run here.

World number one Iga Swiatek was enjoying the calmness amid the chaos at Wimbledon after easing past Sara Sorribes Tormo in the second round.

The Pole was able to book her place in the third round before some first-round matches had even started after rain caused havoc with the scheduling.

There was little danger of her being knocked out of rhythm as she breezed to a 6-2 6-0 victory on Centre Court.

 

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“For sure it’s really comfortable,” she said. “I’m happy that my matches were scheduled under the roof, so I always was certain that it’s going to actually happen.

“It’s a little bit easier to prepare knowing that. But on the other hand I know I would still be ready anyway if my match was suspended or something.

“For sure it’s more comfortable. I would say you have this normal grand slam rhythm with one day off, one day of playing matches.”

Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk revealed a bout of tears during the two rain breaks helped her stage an impressive recovery against eighth seed Maria Sakkari.

Kostyuk looked to be heading home after being bagelled in the first set, but, with the aid of a couple of emotional outbursts when the wet weather came, she turned it around to seal a 0-6 7-5 6-2 victory.

“The rain helped. I think I was very emotional,” she said. “I got more emotional on court after the second rain break, but before that, I was very emotional but I was, like, numb in a way. I was so emotional I couldn’t do anything about it.

“So I had a really good cry both times, that helped, because I was also desperate in a certain way, because I’m playing good, but I don’t know why is it going so bad.”

Kostyuk received good support from the British crowd, having been booed at the French Open for failing to shake Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka’s hand after their match due to the ongoing war in Ukraine.

“That was questionable behaviour from the fans,” she said. “I mean, they can do whatever they want, honestly, but I just didn’t understand it. I don’t think I ever will.

“Obviously the support here is different, I’m very happy with the support at the end of the match and throughout the match too.”

Two-time champion Petra Kvitova enjoyed an impromptu appearance on Centre Court as her contest with Jasmine Paolini was moved there following three quick matches.

 

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And she prevailed in a thrilling late-night finish on her old stomping ground, winning 6-4 6-7 (5) 6-1.

 

Donna Vekic, who was originally scheduled to play on Monday, finally got on court and wrapped up a 6-2 6-3 success over Zhang Shuai while Anett Kontaveit, playing in her final tournament, beat Lucrezia Stefanini 6-4 6-4.

Daria Kasatkina needed only an hour to beat an overwhelmed Jodie Burrage on Centre Court while former French Open winner Sloane Stephens kicked off her campaign with a 6-2 6-3 win over Rebecca Peterson.

Iga Swiatek could end her French Open career with a record to rival Rafael Nadal’s, tournament director Amelie Mauresmo believes.

The Pole cemented her status as one of the best women’s players on clay in recent decades by winning her third title in four years just after her 22nd birthday.

That matches the career progression of Nadal almost to the day, although Swiatek has one US Open title while the Spaniard won on his first four visits to Roland Garros.

“Her record is very impressive, just like Rafa’s record was when he started,” said former world number one Mauresmo.

“Three titles in four editions is huge, it’s very impressive. I think we’re still a little bit far away from the 14 titles but, when Rafa started, no-one also thought he would get to 14 so anything can happen.”

Swiatek found herself really tested for the first time in a grand slam final, twice coming from a break down in the deciding set to beat Karolina Muchova 6-2 5-7 6-4.

She is not looking too far ahead, saying: “I’m just happy with what happened during these past few weeks. I don’t know what I’m capable of.

“So I will work day by day to play the best game possible and to develop as a player. I’m not setting any crazy records or goals for myself. I know that keeping it cool is the best way to do it for me. I’m trying more to do that.”

Swiatek has not had things all her own way this season, with a couple of injuries disrupting her schedule, while Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina have raised their game to create what has been described as a big three of women’s tennis.

Sabalenka could have overtaken Swiatek in the rankings in Paris, and the Belarusian will have high hopes of doing so on the grass, where she has been much stronger than her rival in the past.

Swiatek did not shy away from talking herself up in comparison to Sabalenka and Rybakina, saying: “I look at my clay-court season and I see on every tournament I really played consistently.

“I reached quarter-finals, semi-finals, finals, I won Stuttgart, I won this tournament. I’m just focused on myself and I don’t care about the other two players.”

For Muchova, it was a bitter-sweet experience, with the Czech handling herself extremely well in her first grand slam final but falling short when the match looked like it was almost in her grasp.

What will give a lot of confidence to the 26-year-old, who will be ranked at a career-high 16 on Monday, is that clay is her least favourite surface.

“I wouldn’t expect it that much on the clay, honestly,” she said. “I look forward to playing on the grass, on the fast surfaces. It’s just nice to know that I can play on the clay great as well.

“This was my last clay tournament. It could have ended up a little bit better, but it was still pretty great.”

It was one of the best endings to a women’s grand slam in recent years, with both semi-finals bringing high quality and drama before a very good final.

There has been a lot of focus again in Paris on the scheduling, with the one-match night session featuring women only once for the second year in a row.

Mauresmo defended the decision-making, insisting other slots considered prime time featured more women’s matches this year.

Organisers do not want matches finishing in the early hours of the morning like they routinely do at the Australian Open and US Open, and Mauresmo admitted the possibility of a quick two-set women’s contest is a key factor in favouring men.

Swiatek, meanwhile, revealed she prefers playing in the day and had requested not to play at night.

“This doesn’t make also our life easier,” said Mauresmo. “I’m comfortable with the scheduling in the day but, yes, we can do better on the night matches.”

A dispirited Coco Gauff was forced to digest a seventh straight loss to Iga Swiatek as the defending champion progressed to another French Open semi-final.

The pair had met in the final 12 months ago, with Gauff winning just four games, and the American had not won a set in their six previous clashes.

The statistic remains and, although Gauff had some success with a new game plan and pushed the world number one in a 6-4 6-2 defeat, that was of little consolation.

“Obviously you lose to someone seven times, you feel crappy,” said Gauff, who struggled to hold back tears.

“It’s not fun at all but also, every time I play her, I’m not thinking about the previous record. If I go in believing that I lost the match before it already happens then I’m never going to win.

“But obviously when it’s over, yeah, it does suck.”

Gauff came out with different tactics to last year’s final, testing Swiatek with high, slower balls to her backhand and trying not to allow the top seed to get into a rhythm.

Gauff’s big opportunity came in the third game of the second set when she created three break points – the third after drilling a point-blank backhand at Swiatek at the net, sending the Pole tumbling to the clay as she tried to avoid it.

Gauff swiftly apologised, but it was Swiatek who had the last laugh as the American fired shots long on each of her opportunities.

“I think a lot of the points I lost were off really small details,” said the teenager. “The game in the third set I had an opportunity to go up 40-0 and then also I was up 40-15 on her serve and missed two returns. That’s on my end.”

Gauff was unrepentant about hitting Swiatek, saying: “I didn’t try to hit her. I was just trying to hit the ball hard in the middle of the court, and it happened to hit her.

“I apologised after but I think she knows that’s part of the game. If you hit a bad ball and you decide to run to the net, there’s always a risk that you get hit.”

The Pole did not react at the time, and said later: “I don’t really know if that was her only option or not but I know Coco is a nice person and she wouldn’t mean it. Nothing personal. It happens.”

Swiatek extended her record at Roland Garros to 26-2 as she chases a third title in four years and she has only lost 15 games in five matches so far.

While she is a clear favourite to lift the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen again, Swiatek does not want to take an all-or-nothing approach.

“It’s never like that, honestly, especially at a grand slam,” she said. “I’m pretty happy to be in the semi-final again at Roland Garros. It’s a great achievement no matter how the tournament is going to finish.

“Especially coming into the tournament as a defending champion, it puts a lot of pressure on you. I’m really happy I can show consistency and just play good here every year.”

In the last four, Swiatek will face a player who has taken a much more scenic route in 14th seed Beatriz Haddad Maia, who defeated Ons Jabeur to become the first Brazilian woman to reach the French Open semi-finals in the open era.

After battling for nearly four hours to beat Sara Sorribes Tormo in the fourth round, she found herself with work to do after losing the opening set to seventh seed Jabeur but fought back impressively to win 3-6 7-6 (5) 6-1.

Haddad Maia has spent nearly 13 hours on court in reaching the last four, more than twice as long as Swiatek, who she beat in their only previous meeting in Toronto last summer.

The 27-year-old is a late bloomer having struggled with injuries and then served a 10-month doping ban – she successfully argued she had inadvertently taken a banned substance in a contaminated supplement – and this is her first time beyond the second round of a slam.

Haddad Maia said: “I think a tennis match is like a marathon. It’s not a 100 metres race. I think one of my qualities is that I wait and I’m very patient and I never give up.”

It was a disappointing loss for seventh seed Jabeur, who seemed in control of the match until the second-set tie-break.

The Tunisian managed to be happy for her opponent, though, saying: “She’s a beast and I wish her all the best. I feel like my story and her story are a little bit similar. I’m very happy for her and for Brazil, and hopefully she can do much more for her country.”

Jabeur is now targeting a first slam title at Wimbledon having lost in the final last summer.

“I’m hoping to go and get the title really in Wimbledon,” she said. “I’m dreaming about it. It’s something that I always wanted.”

Iga Swiatek maintained her unbeaten record against Coco Gauff in their French Open rematch to move through to the semi-finals.

The pair had met in the final 12 months ago, with Gauff winning just four games, and the American had not won a set in their six previous clashes.

The statistic remains, although Gauff at least pushed the world number one in a 6-4 6-2 defeat, and will feel she might have done better.

The 19-year-old was unable to take the few chances she had to gain the ascendancy, particularly in the second set, and Swiatek made her pay.

The top seed has lost only 15 games in five matches, and she said: “I haven’t spent much time on court so I’m happy that today was a tighter match.”

Gauff came out with different tactics to last year’s final, testing Swiatek with high, slower balls to her backhand and trying not to allow the top seed to get into a rhythm.

It worked well to a point, with Gauff quickly retrieving an early break, but Swiatek stepped up her level to clinch the set with a brilliant returning game.

Gauff’s big opportunity came in the third game of the second set when she created three break points – the third after drilling a point-blank backhand at Swiatek at the net, sending the Pole tumbling to the clay as she tried to avoid it.

Gauff swiftly apologised, but it was Swiatek who had the last laugh as the American fired shots long on each of her opportunities.

And that would prove to be the last opening, with the two-time champion winning four games in a row to book her spot in the last four once again.

There Swiatek will face Beatriz Haddad Maia, who came from a set down to defeat Ons Jabeur and become the first Brazilian woman to reach the French Open semi-finals in the open era.

After battling for nearly four hours to beat Sara Sorribes Tormo in the fourth round, the 14th seed again found herself with work to do after losing the opening set to seventh seed Jabeur.

A very tight second went to a tie-break, which Haddad Maia took, and the Brazilian ran away with the decider to win 3-6 7-6 (5) 6-1.

Haddad Maia, 27, looked utterly stunned at the moment of victory, having never previously gone beyond the fourth round at a slam.

Her results away from the majors have been very impressive, though, and she will hope to follow in the footsteps of Brazilian grand slam champions Gustavo Kuerten and Maria Bueno.

Iga Swiatek and Coco Gauff will meet in a rematch of last year’s French Open final.

The pair both moved through to the quarter-finals, with Gauff beating Anna Karolina Schmiedlova and Swiatek leading 5-1 when Lesia Tsurenko retired through illness.

There will also be a rematch between Holger Rune and Casper Ruud, who engaged in a fiery battle in the last eight a year ago, while Alexander Zverev continued his strong form in the night session with victory over Grigor Dimitrov.

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Former top-10 player Carla Suarez Navarro announced the birth of twins.

Stat of the dayFallen seeds

Men: Francisco Cerundolo (23), Yoshihito Nishioka (27), Grigor Dimitrov (28)
Women: None

Who’s up next?

 

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Aryna Sabalenka takes on Elina Svitolina in the highest-profile clash between a Belarusian or Russian athlete and a Ukrainian since the war began.

The night session sees the biggest clash of the men’s tournament so far between top seed Carlos Alcaraz and former finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Novak Djokovic takes on Russian 11th seed Karen Khachanov while Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova meets Karolina Muchova in an all-unseeded match.

Women’s top seed Iga Swiatek eased into the third round of the French Open with victory over Claire Liu.

Coco Gauff set up an intriguing clash with 16-year-old Mirra Andreeva, while Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina saw off teenage Czech Linda Noskova.

The match of the day saw German Daniel Altmaier defeat eighth seed Jannik Sinner in five hours and 26 minutes, the fifth longest match in tournament history.

Picture of the dayTweet of the dayQuote of the dayStat of the dayChina on the march

China has been a virtually non-existent presence in men’s tennis in the open era but three players featured in the main singles draw and Zhang Zhizhen, who will play Casper Ruud, is the first through to the third round since 1937.

Fallen seeds

Men: Jannik Sinner (8), Tommy Paul (16), Alex de Minaur (18)
Women: Madison Keys (20), Donna Vekic (22)

Who’s up next?

 

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Cameron Norrie will try to break new ground at the French Open when he takes on talented young Italian Lorenzo Musetti.

The British number one is yet to reach the fourth round at Roland Garros, where he could face top seed Carlos Alcaraz, who plays Denis Shapovalov in the night session.

Novak Djokovic faces Alejandro Davidovich Fokina while Aryna Sabalenka and Jessica Pegula are the leading women in action.

International Tennis Federation (ITF) president David Haggerty is disappointed that Rafael Nadal will not be able to feature at Roland Garros, which he called "Rafa's house".

Nadal has not played since suffering a second-round exit at the Australian Open in January, having struggled with a hip injury during his straight-sets defeat to Mackenzie McDonald, and will not play at the French Open.

The Spaniard last week confirmed he will be unable to compete at Roland Garros, where he is a record 14-time champion.

When announcing his withdrawal, Nadal said 2024 would "probably" be his final year on the ATP Tour and outlined his intention of making farewell appearances at "important tournaments".

Haggerty said: "I think it's disappointing for Rafa not to be there because we know Roland Garros as Rafa's house so to speak.

"He's won it so many times and people love to watch him play. [It is] disappointing.

"I was happy to hear that he is talking about the possibility of his return to the Davis Cup finals, which would be fantastic. I wish him a successful recovery and hope to see him on the court again."

 

While Nadal will not be present in Paris, WTA world number one Iga Swiatek is set to be in action.

Swiatek is the defending champion, and Haggerty says the Pole will be well aware her rivals are gunning for her title.

"She's the number one player in the world and I think that she has been ranked number one for more than a year consecutively," he said.

"So [she is] a very, very good player. She won Roland Garros last year, so I expect to see her performances continued to be good knowing that everybody's after her to try to beat number one."

At 21, Swiatek already has three grand slam titles under her belt. And with 20-year-old Carlos Alcaraz conquering all on the ATP Tour, Haggerty thinks tennis' future is in safe hands, even as Nadal and Novak Djokovic reach the twilight of their careers.

"I think we have many good young men and young women that are showing how great tennis is and and putting on good rivalries already," he said. 

"So I think the future is bright."

Iga Swiatek is optimistic of being fit to defend her title at the French Open.

On the day her fellow champion Rafael Nadal announced he would not be in Paris this year, Swiatek gave a more upbeat assessment of her own prospects after withdrawing during her Italian Open quarter-final.

The Pole sustained a right thigh problem during her clash with Elena Rybakina and called it a day at 2-2 in the deciding set in Rome.

Writing on Twitter on Thursday, Swiatek said: “Quick update. A couple of days off for sure. And booking my flight to Paris, so… fingers crossed, please! Hopefully, see you soon.”

The world number one was on a 14-match winning streak in Rome having won the title the previous two years.

Fitness permitting, she will still go into the French Open as the title favourite but her lead over the rest of the women’s field has narrowed, with Aryna Sabalenka and Rybakina both ahead of her in the 2023 standings.

Sabalenka, who beat Swiatek to win the Madrid Open earlier this month, has never been beyond the third round in Paris but winning the title could see her overtake her rival to become world number one.

World number one Iga Swiatek cruised into the last 16 of the Madrid Open with a straight-sets victory over Bernarda Pera on Sunday.

The three-time grand slam winner conceded the first break of the match three games in, but she responded brilliantly to that setback to wrap up a 6-3 6-2 win within 76 minutes.

Swiatek did not face a second break point in the match as she rediscovered her composure, continuing her French Open preparations as a barrage of big winners proved too much for Pera.

Speaking on court after her win, Swiatek said: "I wouldn't say it was easy. Every match is tricky here. 

"I'm happy that I'm getting into my rhythm. Playing against a lefty is never easy, but I'm pretty happy with that. I was disciplined and focused."

It was a day of few shocks in the Spanish capital, as third seed Jessica Pegula saw off a spirited challenge from Marie Bouzkova to emerge with a 6-4 7-6 (7-2) win.

Pegula will face Italy's Martina Trevisan for a quarter-final spot after she claimed a straight-sets win over another American player in Alycia Parks.

Meanwhile, Russian duo Veronika Kudermetova and Daria Kasatkina will meet in the next round after victories against Anastasia Potapova and Lesia Tsurenko respectively. 

Elena Rybakina made a second-round exit from the Madrid Open as a difficult start to the clay campaign continued for the Australian Open runner-up and Indian Wells champion.

After abandoning a last-16 clash with Beatriz Haddad Maia last week in Stuttgart due to a back injury, this time Rybakina lasted the distance against Anna Kalinskaya but suffered a 7-5 4-6 6-2 defeat. She had benefitted from a first-round bye but was found wanting on Friday.

World number 60 Kalinskaya got the better of the seventh-ranked Rybakina in two hours and 13 minutes, avenging a defeat at the same stage in Miami last month to her fellow Moscow-born player.

Iga Swiatek made no such mistake in her opening match, after also receiving a first-round bye, with the world number one posting a 6-3 6-2 win over Austria's Julia Grabher.

Swiatek led by an early break in the second set but was broken back; however, she was soon back in the ascendancy and made sure of a place in the last-32 stage of a tournament she elected to miss last year due to a minor injury.

Third seed Jessica Pegula was tested by Poland's Magdalena Frech, but the American came through 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 in an hour and 41 minutes. Pegula was runner-up to Ons Jabeur in last year's final.

Pegula's fellow US player, Alycia Parks, continued to catch the eye as the 22-year-old ousted 15th seed Victoria Azarenka, defeating the former world number one 6-2 7-6 (7-5).

Parks, who has rocketed from 150th in the rankings last November to 40th place on that list, now holds a 4-1 career winning record against opponents ranked inside the WTA's top 20.

Former French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova, seeded 11th, was tested by Danka Kovinic before powering through a deciding set to win 6-3 4-6 6-0 against the Montenegrin.

Eugenie Bouchard, meanwhile, was no match for Martina Trevisan, with the Italian running out a 6-2 7-5 winner from a clash with Canada's former Wimbledon runner-up.

Anastasia Potapova, Ekaterina Alexandrova, Daria Kasatkina, Veronika Kudermetova and Bernarda Pera were among other seeded winners as the last-32 line-up took shape, but 25th seed Jil Teichmann was beaten, going down 3-6 6-2 6-4 to Lesia Tsurenko.

Iga Swiatek considers it a sad state of affairs to see women's tennis lagging so far behind the men's game when it comes to regular tour prize money.

The WTA Tour's top-ranked player earned $120,150 for winning the title at the Stuttgart Open last week, plus a Porsche sports car, when she beat Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka in the final.

Yet for taking the title at the Barcelona Open in the same week, a cheque of €477,795 ($527,000) went to Carlos Alcaraz.

Those tournaments are considered comparable in terms of status and the quality of their fields, yet the difference between the money on offer was striking.

It offered a reminder of the gap between the elite men and women at regular tournaments, despite grand slam events offering equal rewards.

Swiatek and Alcaraz both compete this week at the Madrid Open, where prize money for men and women is equal, the champion of each event collecting €1,105,265 ($1.2m).

Asked about last week's situation, Swiatek said: "Well, it's kind of obvious what my opinion is, because tennis is one of the sports where we speak about equality. I think it's better than most sports anyway.

"But still, there is a lot we can work on in terms of getting equal prize money on some WTA tournaments compared to ATP on the same level.

"Grand slams are already even, as we know. That's nice, but for sure it would be good if WTA would focus on that, but I don't really want to get into that, because it's a lot of business and sometimes politics.

"I don't think I have a lot of influence. I just can say that it would be nice for our sport if it was equal, especially because we kind of do the same work."

The 21-year-old Polish player defended the women's game as she said: "I also get people who are saying that men's tennis is nicer to watch and guys can do more because they are physically and biologically stronger.

"I think there were a lot of people, for example a couple of years ago, who were saying that WTA is not consistent and that's a shame and it should be better, but right now basically I think we are even more consistent than the guys with our game.

"Watching women's tennis gives the same emotions, and sometimes even more emotions, because we are women and we are a little bit more emotional. But, yeah, I think it would be nice if WTA could make it even."

Iga Swiatek is delighted by the consistency levels she is demonstrating after completing a successful defence of her Porsche Tennis Grand Prix title on Sunday.

The world number one overcame Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka 6-3 6-4 to become the first back-to-back winner of the Stuttgart crown since Angelique Kerber (2015 and 2016).

Swiatek, who was appearing in her first tournament after a rib injury, claimed her second silverware of the season, in which she also completed a successful title defence in Doha.

The Pole has plenty of ranking points to defend this term having won eight titles during a dominant 2022 campaign.

Swiatek was also a finalist in Dubai and, despite a fourth-round exit at the Australian Open, she is pleasantly surprised to have started 2023 in a similar vein of form.

"Honestly, the beginning of the season was so tough that I'm happy to be in that place now," Swiatek said during her post-match press conference.

"I just hope I'm going to continue having that good mindset without looking at all this stuff [defending points]. I was able to do that here. I really like playing on clay, so I just hope I'm going focus on just playing.

"I'm just pretty proud of my consistency, because when I was consistent on another level, it was nice, but this level, it's even over my expectations.

"Last year was really, really tough, and I felt like this season may be tough because of what people are saying and expectations from the outside. Also, I knew how it is to win these tournaments in a row. 

"Now, I feel like I just can use my experience a little bit more. I'm just happy that I'm world number one for more than a year, and it's an exciting time."

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