Miami. That's where this started. Where Carlos Alcaraz and Iga Swiatek were both champions at the same tournament for the first time.

Expect it to become, if not the norm, a regular occurrence over the coming years. Like Serena and Roger, and like Pete and Steffi before them, Carlos and Iga could well become the tennis royalty that reign above all others on the tour.

The 19-year-old Alcaraz heads to Roland Garros with four titles on the ATP tour this season, while 20-year-old Swiatek has five on the WTA circuit. Those are both tour-leading figures, with Alcaraz triumphing in Rio de Janeiro, Miami, Barcelona and Madrid, while Swiatek has won in Doha, Indian Wells, Miami, Stuttgart and Rome.

It is a global game, and these two are world leaders, based on their recent form. The Miami Open was as recently as April, and now the French Open awaits.

Swiatek has shown she can win big in Paris already, storming to the title without dropping a set as the world number 54 in October 2020, against all expectations. Nobody, Swiatek included, saw that coming, but the emergence of Alcaraz has been longer heralded, and now that is happening too.


"Practically unstoppable". "An overwhelming favourite". What the greats say about Swiatek and Alcaraz

Martina Navratilova, who landed the French Open singles at the height of her career in 1982 and 1984, won 74 consecutive tour matches in the latter year. That puts Swiatek's current streak of 28 into some perspective, albeit the young Pole is just seven away from matching the longest run on the WTA circuit since the start of the year 2000.

According to Navratilova, the Roland Garros tournament starts with an obvious prime contender.

"It's Swiatek against the field," she said, describing the Polish player as an "overwhelming favourite".

"Clearly, the pressure is not bothering her," Navratilova added, as quoted by the WTA website. "She’s just embracing that. It's great to see – when you are the favourite, and you keep on winning."

When Novak Djokovic lost to Alcaraz in the Madrid semi-finals, the disappointed Serbian said: "He held his nerves very well. For somebody of his age to play so maturely and courageously is impressive."

This is greatness recognising potential greatness.

Rafael Nadal had been beaten by Alcaraz in the previous round and accepts there is a changing of the guard in motion.

"When adrenaline goes up, he's practically unstoppable," Nadal said of his fellow Spaniard, "but then in some moments he commits errors, but it's logical because he plays with a lot of risk. It's his way of playing, and in that sense I think he has the level to be able to win against anyone in the world."


Handling the pressure, in their own words...

Swiatek, a natural introvert, travels with psychologist Daria Abramowicz, and is learning on the move how to handle the pressures of life at the top. Winning her last five tournaments points to a remarkable mentality, with Swiatek now firmly established as the WTA number one.

"I already know that I did some great stuff this season, so I feel like I can just play freely and not think I have to win some tournaments, or I have to win some matches, or I have to save some points," Swiatek said in Rome.

"This year, the pressure that I always put on myself, it's a little bit lower. For sure the expectations around are higher, but I never had a problem to cut it off and not to think about it. Also I'm gaining experience at that. I think with more and more tournaments, it's going to get better and better for me to cope with all of that."

Alcaraz, who has become physically mightier in the past 12 months, appears to have the mental steel that a champion requires, albeit he has yet to win one of the four majors.

He is embracing the hype around his French Open prospects by encouraging title talk.

In Miami, he said: "This year, I think that people are going to think that I'm going to be one of the favourites to win Roland Garros, but I always said that I have a different view. I don't have it as tension; I have it as a motivation. I really look forward to going to Paris, to fighting for the grand slam, and I am really looking forward to showing my great level in a grand slam too."

After triumphing in Madrid, he went a step further, telling Tennis TV: "Yes, I think I'm ready to win a grand slam."


What can they achieve?

Alcaraz and Swiatek would not be the youngest champion duo in a single edition of the French Open – Michael Chang was 17 years and three months when he triumphed at Roland Garros in 1989, and women's champion Arantxa Sanchez was only three months older.

They would be the youngest champion pairing this century, however. Currently, the youngest winners at the same French Open in the 21st century are Nadal and Henin, who turned 19 and 23 respectively during the 2005 tournament.

World number six Alcaraz is a long way off number one in the ATP rankings, but at the start of the year he sat 32nd, an awful long way from sixth spot. He is skipping steps as he races up the ladder and seems destined for the top.

He sits third in the Race to Turin, which ranks performances in the calendar year rather than on a rolling basis and decides the line-up for the end-of-season ATP Finals. There, Alcaraz is closing on leader Nadal and just a sliver (3,490 to 3,460 points is the margin) behind second-placed Tsitsipas, who has played 11 tournaments to Alcaraz's seven.

For Swiatek to be champion, she must break the run that has seen eight different women crowned in the last eight years: Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams, Garbine Muguruza, Jelena Ostapenko, Simona Halep, Ash Barty, Swiatek and Barbora Krejcikova.

The men's singles has been rather more predictable over the same period, with Nadal winning five times, Djokovic twice and Stan Wawrinka once. Nadal in 2005 was the last teenager to scoop the men's title.

The last woman to truly dominate at Roland Garros was Justine Henin, who won four years out of five from 2003 to 2007.

Swiatek can make it two from three, and if she reaches the title match, it would be a brave person to back against her given she has won 16 consecutive sets in finals.

With her five titles already this year, Swiatek is one away from becoming the first woman to beat that total in a season since Serena Williams won seven in 2014.

She is a red-hot favourite, while Alcaraz is a serious contender. A repeat of Miami would shock nobody who has been paying attention.

As the Big Three of the men's game begins to break up, and the Williams sisters dot the i's and cross the t's of their careers, the future of tennis looks to be in secure hands.

Novak Djokovic returns to the grand slam arena, Carlos Alcaraz is threatening to follow in the footsteps of Rafael Nadal, and Iga Swiatek is suddenly unstoppable.

The French Open is rich in promise as the Roland Garros clay courts are swept in anticipation of the greats of tennis stepping out to begin their campaigns.

It has been the women's draw that has looked the most wide open in recent seasons, yet this year it is hard to look beyond Swiatek; however, the men's title battle promises to provide a sensational battle.

Here, Stats Perform assesses the contenders for the two main trophies: the Coupe des Mousquetaires and the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen.


KID INTERRUPTS G.O.A.T. RACE

Nadal took full advantage of Djokovic and Roger Federer being absent from the Australian Open, carrying off his 21st grand slam title to go top of the men's all-time list, one ahead of those two great rivals.

Federer is again missing, rehabbing after knee surgery, and the likelihood is he has played his final major already, but Djokovic is emphatically back. His confidence is surging once more, having taken a knock amid the drama of his deportation from Australia in January and being frozen out of the Indian Wells and Miami events due to the United States' COVID-19 rules.

A semi-final run in Madrid, where he lost a three-set monster to Alcaraz, was followed by Djokovic carrying off the Rome title for a sixth time when he saw off Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final.

Djokovic turns 35 on Sunday, as main-draw action gets under way in Paris, but he is the defending champion and firmly believes he can succeed again.

Assessing his prospects for Paris, Djokovic said after his Rome triumph: "With rankings and the way I've been playing in the last few weeks, I would rate myself as one of the favourites. I don't obviously spend too much time thinking who's going to win it or who might have the best chance. I always think about myself.

"I go there with the highest ambitions. I really like my chances. Best-of-five, you play every second day. It's a grand slam. It's different. Really, the grand slams are played different. You have to approach it differently. But the way I've been feeling on the court and off the court in the last few weeks, I really think I can go far."

The chief threat to Djokovic could come not from 'King of Clay' Nadal, but from the 13-time champion's fellow Spaniard, 19-year-old Alcaraz.

Bidding to become the first teenage winner of the men's title since Nadal, also 19, triumphed for the first time in 2005, Alcaraz arrives in Paris with four titles already secured this year, including three on clay in Rio, Barcelona and Madrid. The other title came on hardcourt at the Masters 1000 event in Miami, and Alcaraz has rocketed from 32nd at the start of the year to number six in the world rankings.

Many expect his grand slam haul to reach double digits, just like the Big Three he has grown up watching and learning from. The first slam must come somewhere, and it might well come in Paris in a fortnight's time.

Don't discount Nadal, but his form has been a shade unconvincing since coming back from a rib injury, while Tsitsipas looks the next most likely after winning on clay in Monte Carlo and finishing runner-up to Djokovic in Rome. The Greek has unfinished business in Paris, after the heartache of losing last year's final from two sets up.

 

IGA TO PLEASE? POLE GOES FROM SHOCK WINNER TO FIRM FAVOURITE

The first thing to point out is that the French Open women's singles title has been won by eight different players in the last eight years.

Iga Swiatek was a surprise champion in 2020, at the tournament that was delayed until the Paris autumn due to the pandemic. She was ousted by Maria Sakkari in the quarter-finals last year but returns on a roll, having won an incredible five consecutive tournaments.

The 20-year-old has won 38 of the last 39 sets she has contested, the odd one out going against her on a tie-break, and her winning streak has reached 28 matches. Since Ash Barty retired, nobody has been able to lay much of a glove on Swiatek.

If she wins the French Open, that run will reach 35 matches, equalling the longest run in the 2000s, previously achieved by Venus Williams during a glory run that saw her win events including Wimbledon, the Olympic Games and US Open in the year 2000.

Tunisia's Ons Jabeur has been spoken of as a possible challenger to Swiatek, but she was swatted away 6-2 6-2 by the youngster in the Rome final last weekend.

So who challenges the favourite? Even those who have been there and done that struggle to look beyond Swiatek. According to Martina Navratilova: "You can’t be any hotter than she is right now."

Navratilova told the WTA website: "She looks pretty unbeatable on any surface, particularly the clay now."

The last player to beat Swiatek was Jelena Ostapenko, in Dubai. Ostapenko, a surprise 2017 French Open champion, had a sizzling spell of form in February but has gone off the boil since. It might take someone of her hard-hitting nature to knock Swiatek out of her stride, though, so if Ostapenko can navigate the early rounds she becomes a real contender. The Latvian's career record against Swiatek? An impressive 3-0.

Who else? Simona Halep's coaching tie-up with Patrick Mouratoglou – Serena Williams' former coach of long-standing – has raised eyebrows and now it might be time for it to raise her results level too. Halep has won in Paris before, in 2018, so don't count her out.

Aryna Sabalenka, Sakkari, Paula Badosa. Such players come into the mix if Swiatek slips up, but there has been scant sign of that happening.

Naomi Osaka is preparing for a difficult return to the French Open, a year on from citing mental health issues when she withdrew from the tournament.

Former world number one Osaka has won four grand slam titles but never been past the third round at Roland Garros.

She entered the 2021 French Open having taken the Australian Open title at the start of the year, only for her campaign in Paris to blow up in a way she was desperate to avoid after she announced she would not be fulfilling her media duties.

Having been fined, Osaka ultimately quit the tournament after winning in the first round, describing her "huge waves of anxiety" when speaking to reporters.

She had been warned by grand slam chiefs that she could be thrown out of the event if she continued to refuse to take part in media duties.

The Japanese superstar took a significant step on Friday then when she appeared in a pre-tournament news conference.

Yet that has not been Osaka's only concern, as she is also conscious of the possibility of a repeat of events at Indian Wells earlier this year, where a heckler reduced her to tears.

"I'm not gonna lie," Osaka said, "when I first came here, I was very worried.

"Of course, I also didn't like how I handled the situation, but I was worried that there were people that I offended some way and I would bump into them.

"But I think everyone has been really positive, for the most part. I'm not really so sure.

"I was also very worried about this press conference, because I knew I'd get a lot of questions about this. But I think, for me, where I am right now, I wouldn't want to say it hasn't left my mind.

"Of course, I'm still thinking about it, and I'm kind of also prepping just in case I go on the court and a fan says something like in Indian Wells. For the most part, I think I'm okay."

Osaka was then asked how she had found the news conference and explained she was still figuring out how to talk to reporters again.

"I feel like I was funnier back then," she replied with a smile. "Like I used to be able to say jokes and not really care if anyone got it. I could re-explain the joke, and whatever.

"I feel like the thing that's changed, me trying to figure out the crowd. I feel like I'm a stand-up comedian, and I'm trying to figure out what's okay and what's not okay.

"I think maybe that's changed for me. I'm kind of analysing what I can say and what I can't say. But for the most part, I try to be myself and whatever."

Attention turned to tennis, and Osaka's first-round match is against Amanda Anisimova, who beat her in her previous grand slam match in Melbourne.

"So, my reaction was I thought that Wim [Fissette, her coach] was joking," Osaka said.

But she added: "I wouldn't say I don't want to play her, because I feel like, for me, I'm the type of person that if you beat me, it motivates me more to win, and I also learned a lot from the match."

Indeed, Anisimova was not the opponent the unseeded Osaka feared most, with 2020 champion and current number one Iga Swiatek having won her past five tournaments.

"I had a dream a couple of days ago that the draw came out, and I had to play Iga," Osaka said.

"For me, I was scared, because I was thinking: what's the worst possible player to play when I'm unseeded? She came in my mind, so thank God that didn't happen."

World number one Iga Swiatek is heading to Roland Garros in a laid-back mood as she looks to win her second major title.

Swiatek won her first and only grand slam when she triumphed in Paris in 2020 as a teenager.

The 20-year-old – who rose to number one in the WTA rankings when Ash Barty retired in March – has been in sparkling form in 2020.

Having reached the Australian Open semi-finals, Swiatek has gone on to win five successive titles, becoming the fourth player since the turn of the century to manage that feat.

She became the third-youngest player to win her second title in Rome when she triumphed at the Internazionali d'Italia earlier this month, while she has won five of the last nine WTA 1000 titles.

Swiatek was defeated by Maria Sakkari in last year's quarter-finals at Roland Garros, but feels she has little to prove going into the second major of the season.

"I'm more relaxed. I don't know about being nervous, because usually it comes closer to the match, so we will see," Swiatek, who has won her last 28 matches, told a media conference.

"But I'm more relaxed, because I have so many [ranking] points and I feel like my position in the WTA is already like, you know, I have worked for it.

"Already I've kind of proved to myself and to other people that I can be in the top of the game. Before I wasn't feeling that much confidence, so this year I feel much more peace.

"I'm taking the experience of the whole process, and playing seven matches in two weeks, having the routines. Also like getting to know how it is to go higher and higher in a grand slam.

"These kind of experiences help me not only for other grand slams but for many tournaments."

Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz are all on the same half of the draw at the French Open, while women's world number one Iga Swiatek will face a qualifier in the first round at Roland Garros.

Djokovic, who will make his Grand Slam return having missed the Australian Open, opens in Paris against Yoshihito Nishioka, while record 21-time grand slam winner Nadal meets Australia's Jordan Thompson.

The veteran pair of Djokovic and Nadal could challenge each other in the quarter-finals in the top half of the draw, where Alcaraz could come across world number three Alexander Zverev.

Alcaraz faces a qualifier in the first round and has won 16 of his last 17 matches, with the one blemish on his remarkable run coming against Sebastian Korda, who the Spaniard could meet in the third round.

Daniil Medvedev will have to get past Argentine Facundo Bagnis in the first round, while Lorenzo Musetti stands in the way of last year's runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Medvedev and Tsitsipas are joined in the wide-open bottom half of the draw by Casper Ruud and Andrey Rublev, who meet home favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and South Korea's Soonwoo Kwon respectively.

In the women's draw, 2020 champion Swiatek comes in as favourite and will look to continue her 28-match winning streak when she faces a qualifier in the first round, as does US Open winner Emma Raducanu.

The Brit will then take on Aliaksandra Sasnovich or Wang Xinyu before a potential last-16 meeting with Ons Jabeur, who first has to get past Poland's Magda Linette.

Meanwhile, Karolina Pliskova – who has a first-round clash with France's Tessah Andrianjafitrimo – could set up a quarter-final meeting with Swiatek, but the Pole may have to get past Simona Halep in the fourth round first.

Defending champion Barbora Krejcikova starts against Diane Parry, while Naomi Osaka was drawn against the in-form Amanda Anisimova, who beat the Japanese in the third round of the Australian Open.

Iga Swiatek plans to "celebrate with a lot of Tiramisu" after becoming the first player since Serena Williams in 2013 to win five successive WTA Tour events with victory at the Internazionali d'Italia.

The world number one faced Ons Jabeur – who had been on an 11-match winning run – in Sunday's final in Rome and simply had too much for the Tunisian.

Swiatek won 6-2 6-2, with the 20-year-old Pole getting an early break to establish a 3-0 lead that put her in control of the first set.

As it happened, last week's Madrid Open champion Jabeur never managed to wrest control back from her opponent – her only break of the match came while 4-1 down in the second, with Swiatek digging deep to save four break points in her next service game.

Swiatek then saw things out to defend her Rome title and add to her impressive recent streak.

Additionally, Swiatek has emerged victorious from every WTA 1000 event she has entered this season, having previously won in Doha, Indian Wells and Miami.

But she was quick to salute Jabeur's efforts after another commendable showing.

Swiatek said: "I want to congratulate Ons because she had such a good run on the clay court.

"You have shown fight, spirit, so much variety that it's really nice to have you on tour. Your tennis is different and your tennis is really interesting for women's tennis I think."

As for her own performances, Swiatek added: "It wasn't easy for the whole week to play every day, but the crowd gave me so much energy.

"It was so nice to play here, be in Rome, and I agree with Ons in terms of good pasta! And today I'll celebrate with a lot of Tiramisu – no regrets!"

Swiatek now heads to Roland Garros – the scene of her first and only previous grand slam success in 2020 – as the firm favourite.

Ons Jabeur believes clawing back a match point against Daria Kasatkina puts her in a strong place to push for glory against world number one Iga Swiatek.

Jabeur won for an 11th straight time as she defeated Kasatkina 6-4 1-6 7-5 in the semi-finals of the Internazionali d'Italia on Saturday.

Her victory sets up a final against Swiatek, who extended her winning streak to 27 matches by defeating Aryna Sabalenka.

Jabeur, who won in the Spanish capital last week, is aiming to become the third player to win the Madrid and Rome titles in a single year. Dinara Safina in 2009 and Serena Williams in 2013 are the others to have managed that feat.

However, it would all have been different had Kasatkina converted her match point in the deciding set.

"It means a lot to me, especially mentally, that I could come back from a match point and prove that I did that today," Jabeur said.

"Hopefully I can keep being stronger mentally, because I know [the final] is all about mental [strength].

"I knew that physically I could handle anything. Believing that I could play even four weeks in a row, I can do it. I am exhausted, yes, but it's part of my job.

"It's going to help me push more. There is only one match left. I gave it all from the first round, now I should really continue giving my best."

Swiatek found matters rather more comfortable against Sabalenka, who she beat 6-2 6-1. The 20-year-old is in the hunt for a fourth title of 2022.

"At these tournaments where we play day after day, we don't really get time to celebrate," she told reporters.

"Right after we finish the previous match, we have to think about the next one.

"It's pretty tough. But I know that after I'm going to be really proud of myself. For sure I'm going to have time to think about what I did.

"I'm just constantly surprising myself that I can do better and better. I feel like I actually can believe now that the sky's the limit. That's the fun part, for sure."

In the last 25 years, only Serena Williams in 2013, Kim Clijsters in 2003 and Martina Hingis in 1998 have reached the final in Rome with fewer games dropped than Swiatek this season (17).

Iga Swiatek continued her remarkable winning run to reach the Internazionali d'Italia final as she defeated Aryna Sabalenka 6-2 6-1.

Top seed Swiatek extended to 26 matches unbeaten, dating back to mid-February, with victory over Bianca Andreescu to set up the last-four meeting with Sabalenka, who battled past Amanda Anisimova.

The pair exchanged opening breaks in a tentative start to the clash in the Italian capital before Sabalenka again failed to hold her serve as Pole Swiatek took an early 3-1 lead.

World number eight Sabalenka, the third seed in the tournament, offered little response as the in-form Swiatek then claimed the first set with ease.

Sabalenka was again caught cold and had no answer as world number one Swiatek raced out the blocks in the second set, breaking twice via marathon rallies, to gain a 4-0 lead.

Swiatek swiftly wrapped victory up, despite a short medical time out for her opponent, and has now won all three of her WTA Tour encounters with Sabalenka in 2022, conceding just 12 games in the process.

Meanwhile, in the last 25 years only Serena Williams in 2013, Kim Clijsters in 2003 and Martina Hingis in 1998 have reached the final in Rome with fewer games dropped than Iga Swiatek this season (17).

The 20-year-old Swiatek continues on her quest for a fourth straight WTA 1000 crown and fifth consecutive title and in the final will face either Ons Jabeur or Daria Kasatkina, who face off later on Saturday.

Iga Swiatek's superb form continued as she overcame another grand slam champion in the form of Bianca Andreescu to reach the last four of the Internazionali d'Italia.

Swiatek, who will be aiming to regain the French Open title she won in 2020 when she heads to Roland Garros later this month, has won 26 matches on the bounce after a 7-6 (7-2) 6-0 triumph over Andreescu, the 2019 US Open champion.

The 20-year-old Pole has now won all nine of her matches since she became world number one following Ash Barty's retirement in March. 

That makes her part of an exclusive club, with only Justine Henin (in 2004) and Victoria Azarenka (in 2012) having achieved that feat in the 21st century.

Swiatek's winning streak also matches Azarenka's 2012 sequence as the fifth-longest this century. Henin and the two Williams sisters are the only players to have won more consecutive matches since the start of 2000.

"Being in that kind of group is like a dream come true for me," said Swiatek, who has won 38 of her past 39 sets since her fourth-round match at the Indian Wells Open.

"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."

The only player to have beaten Swiatek in a tour-level quarter-final to date is Maria Sakkari, at Roland Garros last year, but the Greek saw victory slip from her grasp against Ons Jabeur.

Sakkari led 6-1 5-2 against the Tunisian, yet Jabeur rallied remarkably to claim a first career win against a top-five opponent on clay, prevailing 1-6 7-5 6-1.

After winning the Madrid Open last week, Jabeur has now won 10 straight matches, while she has claimed 16 victories on clay in 2022, leading the way on the WTA Tour.

While Jabeur will face world number 23 Daria Kasatkina, whose opponent Jil Teichmann retired when 6-4 3-2 down, Swiatek will go up against third seed Aryna Sabalenka.

Amanda Anisimova had not lost to Sabalenka in four previous meetings over the past three years, but her luck ran out as she went down 4-6 6-3 6-2.

World number one Iga Swiatek beat Victoria Azarenka 6-4 6-1 to progress to the quarter-finals of the Internazionali d'Italia in Rome on Thursday. 

Swiatek, who became the first female player to win 25 consecutive matches since Serena Williams in 2015, will face Bianca Andreescu in the last eight after she eased past Petra Martic 6-4 6-4.

"I didn't start well, and everybody could see that," Swiatek told reporters. "I'm really happy with the way I reacted and how I improved in the first set.

"Also how different the second set looked to the first one because I could really reset and really change the way I played. That's the most positive thing for me."

There was a shock in the final game of the day, though, as Daria Kasatkina dumped out number two seed Paula Badosa 6-4 6-4. 

Third seed Aryna Sabalenka sealed a third straight win over Jessica Pegula, easing to a 6-1 6-4 victory, while fourth seed Maria Sakkari defeated Coco Gauff 6-4 7-5.

Seventh seed Danielle Collins was knocked out by unseeded compatriot Amanda Anisimova, the 20-year-old cruising past the Australian Open finalist 6-2 6-2.

There were also victories for Jil Teichmann, who overcame Elena Rybakina 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 7-5, and ninth seed Ons Jabeur, who beat Yulia Putintseva 6-3 6-2.

Iga Swiatek and Paula Badosa progressed to the third round of the Internazionali d'Italia with ease as the former continued her impressive winning run on Wednesday.

Top seed Switaek, seeking a fifth consecutive title, breezed past Elena-Gabriela Ruse 6-3 6-0 as she became the first female player to win 24 consecutive matches since Serena Williams in 2015.

Badosa followed suit by dispatching Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2 6-1 in just an hour and 17 minutes, teeing up a third-round clash with Daria Kasatkina, who beat Leylah Fernandez 4-6 6-3 7-6 (7-2).

Aryna Sabalenka, the third favourite in Italy, also made light work of Zhang Shuai to triumph 6-2 6-0, while fourth seed Maria Sakkari cruised past Madrid Open semi-finalist Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-3 6-2.

Sakkari will next face a Rome rematch with Coco Gauff, who defeated compatriot Madison Brengle 6-2 6-4. Teenager Gauff's sole win against Sakkari came at this tournament in the second round last year.

Yulia Putintseva came from behind to beat Garbine Muguruza 3-7 7-6 (7-4) 6-1, and will next meet Ons Jabeur, who made it eight successive main-draw wins by defeating Ajla Tomljanovic 7-5 6-2.

Seventh seed Danielle Collins also battled past former world number one Simona Halep 7-6 (7-1) 6-3.

There was no such joy for fifth seed Anett Kontaveit as she crashed out to Petra Martic in straight sets, while Jil Teichmann upset former Rome champion Karolina Pliskova in a three-set thriller.

Belinda Bencic, who was ranked as 12th seed, was another early casualty as she fell to a 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 defeat against American Amanda Anisimova.

Meanwhile, Jessica Pegula secured her third-round spot after Anhelina Kalinina withdrew due to injury, with Victoria Azarenka earning a straightforward 6-2 6-4 victory over Camila Osorio to get a shot at favourite Swiatek in the next round.

World number one Iga Swiatek will not play the Madrid Open after suffering a shoulder injury.

The Pole is in stunning form, having won four titles in a row after prevailing in the Stuttgart Open last time out.

Before that, the 20-year-old – whose winning streak stands at 23 matches – had lifted the trophy at the Qatar Ladies Open, Indian Wells and Miami Open.

"After intense last weeks and winning four titles in a row, it's time to take care of my arm that has been fatigued since the Miami Open and I haven't had a chance to handle it properly," Swiatek, the 2020 French Open champion, wrote in a statement posted to Twitter.

"I need a break from playing so intensively in order to treat my arm well and that's why, unfortunately, I have to withdraw from the Mutua Madrid Open. 

"My body needs rest. I'm going to take some time to prepare for Rome and Paris. See you soon there.

"Hopefully, I will play in Madrid many times in the future – I'm looking forward to it."

Swiatek was due to be top seed in the Spanish capital.

World number one Iga Swiatek maintained her impressive form by seeing off Aryna Sabalenka in straight sets in Sunday's Stuttgart Open final to win a fourth straight WTA title.

Swiatek was made to work hard in Saturday's semi-final against Liudmila Samsonova as she dropped a rare set, but she was back to her imperious best against Sabalenka.

The 20-year-old prevailed 6-2 6-2 in 84 minutes to make it 23 victories in a row – only five other different players have enjoyed longer winning runs since 2000.

With her latest triumph in Germany, Swiatek has now won 30 WTA matches in 2022, compared to 36 in the whole of 2021.

She has won the Qatar Ladies Open, Indian Wells and Miami Open in straight succession, having also reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open in January.

 

Sabalenka, who eliminated Paula Badosa, Anett Kontaveit and Bianca Andreescu en route to the final, was the latest player to fall short in trying to stop the sublime Swiatek.

After saving a break point in the opening game, Swiatek held serve and broke her opponent in the next game before comfortably seeing out the first set.

The Pole never looked under serious threat in the second set as she took the last four games to down world number four Sabalenka, who lost to Ash Barty in this final last year.

At the Istanbul Cup, meanwhile, Anastasia Potapova beat Veronika Kudermetova 6-3 6-1 to clinch her maiden career title.

Qualifier Potapova recovered from a set down to beat Yulia Putintseva in Saturday's semi-final and was too strong for Kudermetova in what was her third career final.

Kudermetova broke Potapova early on and led 3-1 in the opening set, but the latter soon found her range and took advantage of some sloppy mistakes from her opponent.

After battling to victory in the first set, Potapova looked far more comfortable in the second as she produced a number of impressive shots en route to a breakthrough triumph.

Iga Swiatek had to come from a set down to book her place in the Stuttgart Open final with a hard-earned victory over Liudmila Samsonova.

The world number one produced a 22nd consecutive victory as she scraped a 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 7-5 win in a contest that lasted more than three hours.

The Pole will face third seed Aryna Sabalenka in Sunday's final on the German clay.

Swiatek broke early to race out to a 3-0 lead, but was pegged back by her Russian opponent, who fought hard to claim the first set on a tie-break.

The 20-year-old was looking to break the record of Serena Williams, equalling a feat of winning 28 sets in a row, but Samsonova prevented her from doing so.

It was the first time Swiatek had dropped a set since her Indian Wells Open last 16 match against Angelique Kerber in March, but she soon got back into her rhythm and clinched the second set 6-4.

She broke early again in the decider, but was once more broken back by a determined Samsonova, and Swiatek showed frustration with herself as she struggled to put away her opponent.

However, an unusually sloppy service game from Samsonova gave Swiatek another break in the 11th game of the set, which she closed out to seal her place in the final.

The other semi-final in Stuttgart saw Sabalenka overcome second seed Paula Badosa 7-6 (7-5) 6-4.

There were 14 double faults (seven each) in the match, but it was Sabalenka's big serve that ultimately led her to victory, hitting nine aces and winning 76.9 per cent of points on her first serve.

The Belarusian also saved six of eight break points faced as she ultimately eased past her Spanish opponent.

At the Istanbul Cup, third seed Veronika Kudermetova will play Anastasia Potapova in the final after seeing off second seed Sorana Cirstea in straight sets, 6-3 6-3.

Potapova had earlier come from a set down to beat Yulia Putintseva 2-6 6-2 6-2 in the other semi-final.

Iga Swiatek believes a hard-won victory over Emma Raducanu on Friday will steel her for challenges ahead after reaching the Stuttgart Open semi-finals.

World number one Swiatek landed a 21st consecutive victory as she edged out US Open winner Raducanu 6-4 6-4 in an hour and 45 minutes on the German clay.

There was plenty to admire from both players, but in the end it was another straight-sets success for Swiatek, who dropped only two games in her previous round against German Eva Lys.

It makes the 20-year-old Pole the first woman to win 28 consecutive sets on tour since Serena Williams, who did so from the 2012 US Open to the 2013 Australian Open.

Swiatek broke early in the first set to take charge, and with 19-year-old Raducanu battling a back problem the rankings leader soon got ahead in the second too.

This was Raducanu's first-ever match against a player ranked inside the WTA top 10, a peculiar statistic given she is already a grand slam champion.

Swiatek, like her opponent, knows how it feels to win a grand slam as a teenage surprise package, having triumphed as a 19-year-old at the 2020 French Open when ranked only 54th in the world.

At 4-3 in the second set of this contest, Swiatek saved two break points with clinical forehand winners out of the reach of Raducanu, shouting out in satisfaction moments later as she held serve to move a game away.

Raducanu had two more break chances in Swiatek's next service game but again could not convert as her opponent sealed victory.

Swiatek said: "I'm pretty happy that today's match was longer. Not for now, but for the future it's going to give me a lot of experience.

"Right now I want to play really aggressively, and I think this game style is going to fit the surface, and it fit the hardcourts as well."

She will face unseeded Liudmila Samsonova next after the Russian, playing as a neutral, beat Laura Siegemund 7-5 6-3.

The other semi-final in Stuttgart will see second seed Paula Badosa take on third seed Aryna Sabalenka.

Badosa was a 7-6 (11-9) 1-6 6-3 winner against Ons Jabeur, while Sabalenka fended off Anett Kontaveit 6-4 3-6 6-1.

At the Istanbul Cup, Friday saw quarter-final wins for Veronika Kudermetova and Anastasia Potapova, along with Sorana Cirstea and Yulia Putintseva.

Those results set up a semi-final on Saturday between second seed Cirstea and third seed Kudermetova, with Putintseva and Potapova also facing off.

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