World number one Iga Swiatek was not happy after being beaten in the Madrid Open final on Sunday morning by Aryna Sabalenka.
Sabalenka won her second Madrid Open title in three years by knocking down her top-ranked rival for the first time on clay.
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The Belarusian had lost all three previous encounters to the Polish superstar on clay but prevailed 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 to claim the title in the Spanish capital.
“It’s something incredible. I’m really happy to be able to fight her and to be able to get this win, so it’s not that boring for people to watch our matches,” said the champion.
“I really like playing on clay, because I have extra time. It’s not super fast, so I can go for my power shots. There are longer rallies. It’s not just a bomb, bomb.
The hard-hitting Belarusian got revenge for her loss to her rival in the Stuttgart final a fortnight ago with a thrilling triumph to end Swiatek’s nine-game winning streak in front of his French Open defence.
After two hours and 25 minutes, Sabalenka celebrated her victory but it was Swiatek who stole the show by delivering a clip to tournament organizers during his finalist speech.
The 21-year-old took part in the Madrid Open schedule which saw her complete several matches past midnight before the final.
“It’s no fun playing at 1 a.m.,” she said.
“I’m still happy that I was able to overcome this experience, survive and be in the final.”
The remarks did not sit well with tournament director Feliciano Lopez, who looked extremely unhappy with what he had just heard. Tennis fans, however, loved the moment.
Two-time Roland Garros winner Swiatek fought his way into the match after an explosive start from Sabalenka, but the second seed came back strong in the third set to win the first WTA 1000 final with the best two players in the ranking since 2014.
Sabalenka won her 13th career title, and only her second on clay in two hours and 25 minutes, earning victory on her fourth championship point with a crosscourt forehand winner.
“I’m just super happy with this win, especially against Iga on clay, it’s always tough games against her,” added Sabalenka.
The Australian Open champion started with great intensity in her serve and forehand, given the altitude – Madrid is the second highest European capital.
Sabalenka got two break points but looked too hard for a winner to convert and Swiatek held 3-3.
She did the same again on Swiatek’s next serve, but this time earned the break for a 5-3 lead when the top seed sent a long backhand.
The 2021 Madrid winner consolidated to clinch the opening set, her first-ever against Swiatek on clay, after losing in straight sets in their previous three clay-court clashes.
– With AFP