Elena Rybakina reached her maiden WTA 1000 clay semi-final as she advanced to the last four of the Italian Open after Iga Swiatek withdrew due to injury.
The highly-anticipated third clash between the pair this year delivered as promised in the first two sets as Swiatek dominated the first set and then also looked like she would run away with the second set, but Rybakina got her act together and took the second set via the tie-breaker only for the Pole to throw in the towel midway during the decider.
A right thigh injury was given as the official reason for Swiatek’s withdrawal.
“It’s never good to win like this,” Rybakina said after she advanced with the score 2-6, 7-6 (7-3), 2-2. “I hope it’s nothing serious for Iga.
She added: “I’m glad to win, every match I play on clay gives me more confidence. I didn’t start well but in the second set I found my rhythm.”
The world No 1, though, looked set for an easy day at the office in the quarter-final at Foro Italico as she raced into a 4-0 lead after breaks in games one and three.
Rybakina eventually got on the scoreboard, but Swiatek soon served out the set and then broke to love in the opening game of the second set before going 2-0 up.
However, the reigning Wimbledon champion got a foothold in the match as she broke back in game eight to take the set to a tie-breaker which she controlled.
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That tie-breaker was also where things went wrong for Swiatek injury wise as she started wincing after a slide and took a medical timeout once the set was completed.
They played four more games before Swiatek called it quits.
Rybakina, who will rise to a career-high No 5 after her latest win, will take on the hard-hitting Jelena Ostapenko in the semi-final.
“I was coming to this match without any expectations and I’m just happy that in the second set I started to feel much better the forehand and started to move better,” Rybakina told WTA Tour after the match. “So I think it was just good from me overall no matter the result. Just happy to play another match and looking forward to it.”
Swiatek has just over a week to recover before the French Open kicks. She also skipped her Miami Open title defence due to injury.
The result means Swiatek’s unbeaten streak at the Italian Open comes to an end at 14.
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The article Iga Swiatek under injury cloud ahead of Roland Garros – ‘I hope it’s nothing serious for Iga’ appeared first on Tennis365.com.