So the last few weeks have not seen my usual favourites make much of a splash on the WTA tour. Instead, it has all been about Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka, who seem to have distanced themselves at the top the women’s rankings in 2023. World number 1 Swiatek won her second successive title at the WTA500 in Stuttgart, beating Sabalenka in straight sets in the final. Advantage Iga. However, his week, Sabalenka got her revenge, beating Swiatek in the WTA1000 Madrid Open final in 3 tight sets for her second Madrid title. Deuce!
Sabalenka really needed to get this win after a relatively straightforward win for Swiatek in Stuttgart. As a former champion in Madrid, where big ball strikers often thrive in the high altitude conditions, Sabalenka looked on a mission and quite honestly, should have won in straight sets. One loose game in set 2 gave Iga the edge but her aggressive game had Iga scrambling and she was a deserved winner.
In Stuttgart, Iga was the more confident one – again, as a former champion. Once Sabalenka let her level drop a little at 3-3 in the first set, it was kind of game over!
With Rome and Roland Garros coming up, where Iga is defending champion, it will be fascinating to see if she rolls through or whether Sabalenka can reproduce this form on the slower clay.