Tennis: Swiatek's perfect 10 in Stuttgart as Vondrousova stuns Sabalenka

AFP , Friday 19 Apr 2024

World number one and defending champion Iga Swiatek took her Stuttgart winning streak to 10 matches on Friday with a straight sets victory over Emma Raducanu while Marketa Vondrousova stunned three-time runner-up Aryna Sabalenka to also make the semi-finals.

Iga Swiatek
Poland’s Iga Swiatek reacts after defeating Britain’s Emma Raducanu (not in picture) during their quarter-final match at the Women's Tennis Grand Prix WTA tournament in Stuttgart, southwestern Germany, on April 19, 2024. Photo: AFP


Top seed Swiatek, the 2022 and 2023 champion at the German clay-court tournament, saw off former US Open champion Emma Raducanu 7-6 (7/2), 6-3 in her quarter-final.

The 22-year-old Pole needed just over two hours to defeat Raducanu who was playing in her first quarter-final since 2022.

Despite her loss, there were encouraging signs of a return to form for the Briton.

Her two wins for Britain in the Billie Jean King Cup win against France last weekend followed by two victories in Stuttgart mark the first time she has won four matches in a row since her 2021 US Open title triumph.

The former world number 10 came into Stuttgart ranked at 303. Twelve months ago, Stuttgart proved to be her final event of 2023 before undergoing surgery on both wrists and her ankle.

Swiatek will face fourth-seeded Elena Rybakina, who defeated Jasmine Paolini 6-3, 5-7, 6-3, for a place in the final.

Vondrousova reached her first semi-final since clinching the Wimbledon title last July when she stunned world number two Sabalenka.

The sixth-seeded Czech came through 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 as the 24-year-old celebrated her first win over Sabalenka in six years after losing four in a row between 2018 and 2023.

Australian Open champion Sabalenka had been attempting to make the Stuttgart final for a fourth successive year.

The powerful Belarusian crunched 35 winners to Vondrousova's 17, but committed 48 unforced errors compared to 19.

Vondrousova crucially converted seven of eight break points while Sabalenka only capitalised six times from 15 opportunities.

Vondrousova will face either third-ranked Coco Gauff, the US Open champion, or Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine for a place in Sunday's final.

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