World No.1 Iga Swiatek came up with another dominant performance to book a maiden entry into the final of the Madrid Open with a comprehensive victory over Veronika Kudermetova.The Polish tennis player took a commanding lead early in both sets as she went on to hand the Kazan-born No.12 seed a 6-1, 6-1 defeat in a late-night semifinal here on Thursday.
Top seed Swiatek took 1 hour and 19 minutes to prevail in the first WTA 1000 clay-court event of the season, improving her dominant head-to-head record against Kudermetova to 4-0. Swiatek has never lost more than six games in a match against Kudermetova.
With this comprehensive victory, Swiatek, for the second straight WTA Tour event, will meet World No.2 Aryna Sabalenka in the final. Sabalenka won the day's first semifinal over No.9 seed Maria Sakkari.
Eleven days ago, Swiatek topped Sabalenka in the Tennis Grand Prix final in Stuttgart. Overall, Swiatek has a 5-2 win-loss record against Sabalenka going into Saturday's Madrid final. Swiatek has also won all three of their previous clay-court meetings.
By making her seventh career WTA 1000 final this fortnight, Swiatek ties Caroline Wozniacki for the most WTA 1000 final appearances achieved before turning 22 years old (dating back to the start of the WTA 1000 tier in 2009).
Swiatek won the first seven points of the match en route to a 5-1 lead, then saved a break point in the seventh game with a rally backhand winner before closing out the set.Top-seeded Swiatek took another commanding 4-1 lead in the second set, but Kudermetova powered to four break points in that game.
Swiatek overcame each of those chances as she methodically moved to victory without ever dropping serve in the nightcap.This will be only the third time in the last 40 years that World No.1 and No.2 will face each other two times on clay during a single season.
It also happened in 1984 (Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert in Amelia Island and Roland Garros) and 2013 (Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova in Stuttgart and Roland Garros).This is also the first time the World No.1 and No.2 will square off in a WTA 1000 final since top-ranked Serena Williams beat second-ranked Li Na for the 2014 Miami Open title.
Since the start of last season, Swiatek is 27-1 on clay, with her only defeat on the surface during that timeframe coming in the 2022 Warsaw quarterfinals against Caroline Garcia.