Sunday, May 28, 2023

Sabalenka beats Swiatek in three sets to return to reign in Madrid

If it has to be on clay, let it be in Madrid, think Aryna Sabalenka, so powerful in his shots, so deadly when the ball picks up speed. The greatest virtue of the Belarusian is diluted on clay, but the altitude of the Madrid capital serves as a mitigation for that handicap. And as it happened two years ago, Sabalenka took advantage of it to reign in the Mutua Madrid Open (6-3, 3-6 and 6-3).

It was a long final (2h25) vibrant and even that offered by her and Iga Swiatek, number two and one in the world, the two best tennis players on the planet crushing each other for three sets in a Magic Box delivered to their tennis. The first for Sabalenka, the second for the Pole and the third and definitive again for Sabalenka, with intrigue and excitement until the final sigh of glory.

Never before had Sabalenka beaten Swiatek on clay, had actually just lost the Stuttgart final two weeks ago. And only one of his twelve titles had been achieved on this surface… but it had been precisely in Madrid. The favoritism, however, was for the Pole. A previous tag that Sabalenka erased with a whiplash in one of the best women’s finals ever seen at the Mutua Madrid Open.

Sabalenka starts strong

Not a single break ball was granted by the Belarusian to her rival during a first set in which she gradually imposed her dominance over the land of Madrid. Swiatek sought to extend the points to minimize Sabalenka’s powerful forehands.

The Pole managed to lift a 15-40 down on her third serve, but was no longer able to stop her opponent in the fourth and lost it to the rest, confirming the progressive loss of control over her serve and giving her a chance to win the first set. in the next game. Sabalenka did not miss the opportunity (6-3).

Swiatek managed to react immediately, winning the first three games of the second set, after breaking Sabalenka’s service in the second of them. It was going to be a second set with a much more dynamic script than the first, with the Belarusian recovering the lost serve in the fifth game.

He was about to do it again in the seventh, with Swiatek defending a 15-40 down. But the Polish woman overcame and not only managed to save the game, but also in the following he achieved his second ‘break’ of the game (in two attempts, for the 10 that Sabalenka needed to do the same) and tied the tie to sets (6-3).

Spectacular third set

The third sleeve was a delight for the spectator, a torture for two women who beat each other mercilessly. Again with alternatives, it was Sabalenka who broke his rival’s serve in the second game and Swiatek did the same in the fifth.

It seemed at that moment that the Polish was heading towards victory, because she was finally managing to make her opponent run, blocking her options from the powerful rights that were doing her so much damage.

But Sabalenka reset again to break in the eighth, making it 5-3 in the partial set. There was only one more game left. But what a game! Swiatek managed to save three match balls to the rest until Sabalenka achieved the final blow to, two years later, return to reign in Madrid.


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