A third straight Rome Masters title fell by wayside for Iga Swiatek as the world No. 1 had to retire at 2-all in the third set to Elena Rybakina in their quarterfinal.
Following consecutive losses to Elena Rybakina, Iga Swiatek was looking for revenge on her favorite surface.
After a tight first 10 minutes, Swiatek took complete control of the match taking the first and rolling out to 4-2 in the second. Rybakina then got back into it, using her power to level, saving break points and then she played a fantastic breaker.
In a scary moment, Swiatek froze in fear that something happened to her right knee/leg after going down 6-3 in the breaker. She would lose the next point and then in tears she left the court for treatment for a medical timeout.
Swiatek returned with her upper right leg strapped and moved well in the opening game. But in the fourth game with Rybakina serving, Swiatek no longer was moving to balls and at 2-6, 7-6(3), 2-2 she pulled the plug.
Rybakina will get a day off before returning on Friday to take on former French winner Jelena Ostapenko. The Latvian knocked out Paula Badosa in her quarterfinal 6-2, 4-6, 6-3.
In customary fashion, Ostapenko slapped 44 winners off the ground while the Spaniard mustered just eight. Badosa did play over three hours yesterday to reach the last eight.
“This is one of my favorite tournaments. I really love playing here,” Ostapenko said. “I was never was more than in quarterfinals, and now, I’m finally in the semifinals.
“Paula is a great player and I know she is such a fighter, so I expected a tough battle. The most important thing was to fight for every point. The match is only over when you shake hands, so even though some points and games didn’t go my way, I just managed it. I think I played well in deciding moments.”
Anhelina Kalinina and Veronika Kudermetova will meet in the other semifinal for a spot in their first WTA 1000 final. All four remaining are playing in their first Rome semifinal.
The semifinals will be played on Friday with the final on Saturday when a new Rome champion will be crowned.
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