Swiatek Withdraw From Italian Open With Injury After Loosing To Rybakina
Tied at one set all, the denouement to Iga Swiatek’s quarter-final against Elena Rybakina promised much, but the Rome crowd were deprived of the finish they were hoping for as the Pole retired injured in the decisive set. The scoreline at that point was 2-6 7-6(3) 2-2, with Swiatek having taken the first set, before losing the second. The French Open begins on May 28.
Iga Swiatek is out of the Italian Open as an injury retirement in the third set handed a 2-6 7-6(3) 2-2 ret. victory to Elena Rybakina in Rome.
The pair had traded sets to that point and were level in the decider after 2h19 of play, before Swiatek decided she could carry on no longer, having appeared to be holding her right leg during the second-set tie-break.
Rybakina will face Jelena Ostapenko next in the semi-finals, after the Latvian beat Paula Badosa in three sets.
“It’s never good to finish a match like this,” Rybakina said on court afterwards.
“It was a really good match. I hope it’s nothing serious for Iga and I just wish her a speedy recovery.”
A rainy day in the Eternal City pushed the match back to a late night start, with the action not getting underway until after 22:00 UK time.
Both players started the game aggressively, matching each other stroke for stroke but the first game was disrupted with a mobile phone going off in the arena. With shock on her face, the realisation hit Swiatek that the noise in question was coming from her bag.
With the offending item sheepishly passed to her team in the stands, Swiatek returned to court and proceeded to break Rybakina and take an early advantage.
From here, the world No. 1 took control and moved into a 4-0 lead, although tightly contested games were perhaps not fairly reflected in the score.
Coming into the match, neither player had dropped a set in the tournament, so something had to give.
Despite a spirited showing from Rybakina, who more than played her part in an excellent first set, Swiatek served out to take it 6-2 with several exquisite winners during the final game of the set.
Rybakina had won her two previous meetings with Swiatek but the Pole was clearly determined not to let her opponent complete a hat-trick of victories against her.
Building on her momentum from the first set, Swiatek broke Rybakina to love in the first game of the second set, before a dominant service game put her 2-0 up.
Swiatek became more ruthless as the match progressed and this was personified by a rally which saw Rybakina sent sprawling from one side of the court to the other before her opponent viciously unfurled a cross-court forehand winner.
However, Rybakina reached this year’s Australian Open final and arrived on the back of her 16th WTA 1000 win so wasn’t backing down easily.
She was forced to grit her teeth and fight hard to stay in the match, but, by saving a break point, Rybakina kept within touching distance at 4-3.
This gave the world No. 6 a confidence boost and, the very next game, Rybakina earnt her first break points of the match and took one at the first attempt to level the set at 4-4.
Both players held serve, with Rybakina saving several break points, to take the second set to a tie-break.
Rybakina then showed her steel to dominate the breaker and force a deciding set, but not before Swiatek appeared to be holding her leg at 6-3 down in the tie-break.
Swiatek had a medical timeout at the end of the set but managed to keep the decider level at 2-2, before she signalled to finish the match.