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Iga Swiatek retains Italian Open to claim a fifth straight title

Poland's Iga Swiatek holds the winner's trophy after defeating Tunisia's Ons Jabeur to win the final of the Women's WTA Rome Open tennis tournament on Sunday

Poland's Iga Swiatek holds the winner's trophy after defeating Tunisia's Ons Jabeur to win the final of the Women's WTA Rome Open tennis tournament on Sunday. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

Published May 15, 2022

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Rome — Iga Swiatek swept to victory at the Italian Open on Sunday, beating Ons Jabeur 6-2, 6-2 to retain the title and claim her fifth tournament crown in a row.

World number one Swiatek dropped to her knees in tears of joy after winning her 28th match in a row, and is red-hot favourite for Roland Garros which starts later this month.

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"I'm going to celebrate with a lot of tiramisu!" Swiatek joked on court before adding "see you at the French Open".

The 20-year-old Pole has dropped just one set in her last 20 matches and made light work of Jabeur, ranked seven in the world, in a largely one-sided final in Rome.

Jabeur had come into her first Rome final on a roasting Foro Italico centre court on the back of two thrilling comeback wins over Daria Kasatkina and Maria Sakkari.

Tunisia's Jabeur had made history last week after becoming the first Arab or African woman to win a WTA 1000 title but could not extend a career-best 11-match winning streak against her relentless opponent.

"We've had a great run on clay... we will learn from this match and we will continue forward," said Jabeur.

Swiatek came out all guns blazing and after winning the first three games came close to taking the fourth, failing to capitalise on two break points before Jabeur eventually got a score on the board.

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After her heroics in the quarter- and semi-finals fans on the court were hoping for another fightback but by the time she started to show signs of life she was already too far behind.

Down in the second set Jabeur shanked a poor shot wide at break point in game two, and Swiatek then claimed the next two to move into an unassailable lead.

Jabeur then fired up the crowd by winning the next two and another unlikely comeback bid looked to be on when she had three break points in game seven.

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However Swiatek took the game to deuce and saved another break point in a superb rally before taking the game, breaking Jabeur's resolve and then moving on to take the title.

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Later on Sunday Novak Djokovic faces Stefanos Tsitsipas in the men's final, a rematch of their final at last year's French Open which was a five-set thriller eventually won by the Serb.

Djokovic has already ensured he will be world number one for a record-extending 370th week and claimed his 1,000th career victory, against Casper Ruud, on Saturday night to reach the final.

AFP

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