World number one Iga Świątek captured her fourth straight title of the 2022 season by beating Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka 6-2, 6-2 in the Stuttgart Open final on Sunday, extending her winning streak to 23 matches.
- Iga Świątek and Arnya Sabalenka split their previous contests, in last year’s WTA Finals and the Qatar Open in February
- Prior to the Stuttgart title, Świątek triumphed at Doha, Indian Wells and Miami
- She is favourite to win at Roland Garros in May, and is a previous French Open champion
Świątek, a former French Open champion, had breezed through the opening rounds of the WTA 500 clay court tournament before facing her biggest test in the semi-finals, where she battled back from a set down to overcome Ludmilla Samsonova on Saturday.
The Polish 20-year-old showed little signs of fatigue from that marathon clash as she saved an early break point and raced ahead 3-0 before holding firm and taking the opening set when third-seeded Sabalenka, last year’s runner-up, double-faulted.
Previously, the pair had split their contests — in last year’s WTA Finals and the Qatar Open in February — but it was the in-form Świątek who excelled in their first clay court meeting, dealing effortlessly with her opponent’s big hitting.
The error-prone Sabalenka looked to mount a comeback after a crucial hold of serve at the start of the second set but Świątek switched gears to break for a 4-2 lead and completed the victory when the Belarusian sent a shot long.
“It’s always super tough playing against Aryna. We fought for every game and, hopefully, there are more matches to come,” Świątek said.
“The last couple of days have been tough … I want to thank my dad, who finally decided he will come with me for tournaments. The atmosphere in this arena was amazing today.”
Tournament debutante Świątek’s success in Stuttgart follows her triumphs in Doha, Indian Wells and Miami, and makes her a firm favourite for Roland Garros, which starts on May 22.