Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka set up Madrid Open final rematch

Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka set up Madrid Open final rematch

Iga Swiatek made light work of Madison Keys on Thursday to book a rematch with Aryna Sabalenka in the Madrid Open final.

Top seed Swiatek beat her American opponent 6-1, 6-3 in just 70 minutes in their semi-final on Thursday. She will now have a chance at revenge for last year’s defeat against Sabalenka, who rallied from a set and break down to edge fourth seed Elena Rybakina 1-6, 7-5, 7-6 (5).

Heading into the contest having won two of their last three meetings, Swiatek dominated Keys from the start and wrapped up the opener in 30 minutes against the 18th seed, who defeated Ons Jabeur in the last eight. The world No 1 broke early in the second set and raced into a 5-3 lead before breaking again to secure a dominant win.

“I feel really good,” Swiatek, who lost 6–3, 3–6, 6–3 to Sabalenka in last year’s final, said. “I wasn’t really thinking about what happened last year. But repeating this result is a great thing. I’ll have a chance to play a nice match in two days. So it’s really exciting. I’m happy overall with the whole tournament.”

In the second semi-final, Rybakina looked on course for a comprehensive victory after taking the first set 6-1 and breaking in the second set. But as she was serving for the match, Sabalenka shifted the momentum by breaking. The defending champion then held serve to love before breaking serve again to set up a decider.

Aryna Sabalenka came through an epic battle with Elena Rybakina to reach the final.View image in fullscreen

The third set went all the way to a tie-break and Sabalenka raced into a 5-1 lead before earning three match points at 6-3 up. Rybakina dug in to save the first two, but an unstoppable serve got her opponent over the line.

“It’s definitely going to be a great battle. We’re always fighting as hard as we can,” Sabalenka said of her rematch with Swiatek. “It’s always incredible matches. I’m really looking forward to this final. I’m gonna do everything I can to get this win.”

In the men’s draw, Daniil Medvedev retired after one set of his quarter-final against Jiri Lehecka, joining Jannik Sinner in withdrawing due to injury. Lehecka won the first set 6-4, with Medvedev having issues with his upper right thigh. The Russian sought treatment on his leg while leading the set 3-2 and again at 4-3 ahead.

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Lehecka took over when he broke Medvedev’s serve in the ninth game en route to winning the final three games of the day as his opponent retired before the second set could begin. “Tough to say because when I stretch I don’t feel, but when I move I basically cannot move,” Medvedev reportedly told his trainer from the court.

“It’s never easy in a match like this,” Lehecka said post-match. “If I were to choose the way how to win this match, it wouldn’t be like that. The Czech hit two aces and won 15 of his 16 first-service points as he advanced to his first ATP Masters semi-final, where he will face Félix Auger-Aliassime.

The Canadian received a bye when Sinner withdrew before their last-eight meeting with a hip problem. The other semi-final will feature Andrey Rublev, who eliminated Carlos Alcaraz, against the American Taylor Fritz.