Swiatek Defends Stuttgart Title with Victory Over Sabalenka, Solidifying French Open Frontrunner Status

On Sunday, April 23, 2023, world No. 1 Iga Swiatek successfully defended her Stuttgart Open title by defeating world No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka 6-3, 6-4. Swiatek, who returned from a rib injury, put up a strong performance to cement her place as the French Open favorite.

Swiatek and Sabalenka traded solid baseline strokes in the final, but the Pole gained control, securing a second breakpoint at 4-3. Swiatek then blasted a beautiful forehand down the line to go 5-3 up and easily held serve on her second set point to win the first set.

Now fully recovered from her injury, Swiatek broke Sabalenka in the second set’s first game. At 2-0, Sabalenka began accumulating unforced mistakes and struggled with her serve. She held her serve with a cross-court forehand but could not break Swiatek’s back. Swiatek won her second title of the year by holding her serve at 5-4.

Swiatek complimented her team after her timely comeback from injury, stating, “I am so happy we are making the right decisions.” It’s a very exciting time. I’ll be returning because I enjoy this competition.”

Sabalenka, on the other hand, was defeated in the Stuttgart final for the third time in a row, having previously been defeated by Ash Barty in 2021 and Swiatek last year.

Swiatek became the first player since Angelique Kerber in 2015 and 2016 to win back-to-back Stuttgart tournaments. It is also the first time a female world number one has faced a female world number two on clay since Serena Williams defeated Maria Sharapova in the 2013 French Open final.

Swiatek’s recent Stuttgart Open triumph is her first after recuperating from a rib ailment that forced her to miss the Billie Jean King Cup qualifiers and the Miami Open. Swiatek and emerging tennis star Carlos Alcaraz, who won the Barcelona Open in straight sets, have both overcome injuries to regain health and form. They will both compete in the French Open at Roland Garros next month, with Swiatek defending her crown.

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