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A new era for women’s tennis? Iga Swiatek against Aryna Sabalenka proved a point in the Madrid Open final | Tennis News


Iga Swiatek’s victory against Aryna Sabalenka in the Madrid Open final will go down as arguably one of the greatest women’s matches of the Open Era.

On the brink of defeat, Swiatek saved three championship points to win the title with an incredible three-set victory over defending champion Sabalenka in a matchup of the top two players in the world.

The contest lived up to expectations, going down as the longest encounter between the two Grand Slam champions at three hours and 11 minutes.

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Colin Fleming and Anne Keothavong give a masterclass on how Swiatek and Sabalenka execute their forehands

Swiatek admitted neither player deserved to lose while Sabalenka delivered what was arguably the finest performance of her career. Yet, when the final point was played, it was world No 1 Swiatek who held the winner’s trophy aloft on the confetti-drenched court.

“Who’s gonna say now that women’s tennis is boring?” Swiatek said in her on-court interview with Spanish TV.

During her press conference, the Polish star elaborated on her comment, explaining that there was a lot fans could take from the women’s game.

“Well, I think, obviously if we would have to play against a man we would lose. It’s not about that. It’s about how two players match against each other. So I think we can play great matches,” the 22-year-old said.

“I’m No 1, but I’m seeing these girls in the top 10, we can play such intense battles. I think it’s all about what emotions it brings in people, and I think it’s not that you should compare the level of tennis, but you should compare what it gives you when you watch it. I think people can take a lot from watching women’s tennis, and it can be interesting and emotional.”

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Highlights of the Madrid Open WTA final between Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka

Speaking to Sky Sports Tennis, Britain’s Billie Jean King Cup captain Anne Keothavong was in awe at what she had witnessed after the final, saying: “The quality they were able to display for over three hours was phenomenal. That was high-quality stuff.

“It was a gutsy performance from both players.

“That was one of the best matches I’ve ever witnessed courtside. High-quality, high-drama

“It was a match which was tough to call, even before they went on the court. They’ve got a fierce rivalry and prior to the match we wondered how much Sabalenka had in the tank because pretty much every match she played in here went the distance apart from one.

“Iga showed such good fighting spirit, such desire, they were both just desperate for it. They left everything out there, which is what you want to see.”

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Swiatek reflects on her tough Madrid Open final against Aryna Sabalenka and what winning the tournament means to her

Tournament director Feliciano Lopez was amazed by the quality shown on court by Swiatek and Sabalenka, calling it an ‘amazing match’.

The Spaniard said: “Not only the longest match in the history of the tournament, but the best match as well. It was a hell of a match with everything, with drama, great tennis and also the biggest rivalry we can have in tennis for the next few years.

“It was great to be in the front row and to witness such a great match.

“Sabalenka might have been the favourite but Swiatek was hanging in there, she waited for the opportunity and I think she deserved it because she was fighting until the end.”

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A confetti cannon caught Iga Swiatek and the Sky Sports Tennis panel off guard during Swiatek’s trophy lift at the Madrid Open!

Former player Colin Fleming felt Swiatek was ‘brave’ in saving three Championship points before taking her opportunity.

“Swiatek was hitting the ball within inches of the baseline but they were both coming up with the goods in pressure situations,” he said. “We loved the emotion from Swiatek. She plays as the poker face by not giving anything anyway.”

As the road to Roland Garros, the year’s second Grand Slam, continues on Swiatek’s beloved clay, the world No 1 next leads the field at this week’s Internazionali BNL d’Italia.

The four-time Grand Slam champion is already looking ahead to Rome with an eye on capturing her third title.

“I feel like after such a match, I deserve a two-month vacation,” Swiatek told the official WTA website, “but I can’t have that.

“So I’ll trade it for, like, six tiramisus or something.”

Social media reaction to an incredible final

A bright new era for women’s tennis

Sky Sports’ Raz Mirza

Swiatek and Sabalenka delivered in every department for women’s tennis on Saturday night in Madrid, showcasing the current strength of the game with established names and storylines

The top two players in the world conjured up a final for the ages, with unerring accuracy, power, pace, and a never-say-die attitude to leave fans in bewilderment at what they had just witnessed.

Coco Gauff and Elena Rybakina make up the ‘Big Four’ in a bright new era for women’s tennis.

What’s coming up on Sky Sports Tennis?

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Find out all the ways to watch tennis on Sky Sports, including the US Open, ATP and WTA tours

In the run-up to the second Grand Slam of 2024 – the French Open at Roland Garros from May 26 – you can watch all of the biggest tennis stars in action live on Sky Sports as they compete across the clay-court season.

  • Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome (ATP and WTA Masters 1000) – May 7-19
  • Geneva Open (ATP 250) – May 20-26
  • Lyon Open (ATP 250) – May 20-26
  • Internationaux de Strasbourg (WTA 500 with Emma Raducanu in action) – May 20-26
  • Morocco Open (WTA 250) – May 20-26
Rome Open

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