Iga Swiatek of Poland celebrates a point against Naomi Osaka of Japan, during the women’s singles finals of the Miami Open tennis tournament, Saturday, April 2, 2022, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
- No. 1 seed Iga Swiatek rides a 22-match win streak as she takes on Aryna Sabalenka in the Stuttgart final
- The match will take place Sunday, April 24 at 7 a.m. ET
- Swiatek has been tested in her last two matches – a blip, or is the streak about to end? We break it down
Iga Swiatek was the prohibitive favorite to win the Stuttgart Open before the tournament began. And she’s one match away.
But based on her performance in her last two matches, she definitely looks vulnerable to the considerable skill set of No. 3 seed Aryna Sabalenka in Sunday’s final.
Swiatek vs Sabalenka Odds
| Iga Swiatek (POL)||-2.5 (-129)||-186||Ov 21.5 (-105)|
| Aryna Sabalenka (BLR)||+2.5 (+102)||+150||Un 21.5 (-121)|
Odds as of April 23 at Barstool Sportsbook.
The last meeting between the two was a top-level battle at the WTA Tour Finals in Guadalajara, Mexico last November, in which Sabalenka came back to win in three sets.
Swiatek and the Streak
There is going to come a point where Swiatek’s winning streak, which began in Doha back in February, is going to become onerous and less productive with tennis fans keeping careful score.
It doesn’t appear that has happened yet. But the cumulative wear and tear of winning three top-level tournaments and now, making the final at a WTA 500 with a stellar field, looked to be showing in her last two matches.
Iga Swiatek’s amazing 2022
22 wins in a row
28 sets in a row tied with Serena as the longest streak in 10 yrs
3 master titles in a row
4th Final in a row at wta 500 + 1000 levels
— _cosmic ✨ (@cosmic90210) April 23, 2022
In the quarterfinals against No. 8 seed Emma Raducanu, the reigning US Open champion, winning proved a tougher task than expected against a teenager competing in her first WTA-level clay-court event.
The closeness of the score (6-4, 6-4) had as much or more to do with Swiatek’s level dropping as it did with Raducanu’s laudable efforts.
Swiatek vs Sabalenka Head-to-Head
|20 (May 31, 2001)||Age||23 (May 5, 1998)|
|Warsaw, Poland||Birthplace||Minsk, Belarus|
|6||Career WTA Singles Titles||10|
|No. 1 (April 4, 2022)||Career High Ranking||No. 2 (Aug. 23, 2021)|
|No. 1||Current Ranking||No. 4|
|$8,423,963||Career Prize Money||$10,124,335|
|31-3||2022 Won/Loss record||10-8|
|1||Career Head to Head||1|
Samsonova Gives Swiatek all She Can Handle
It was unseeded Liudmila Samsonova who ended the streak of sets won that Swiatek began after losing a set to Angelique Kerber at Indian Wells last month.
And she had to come from way down to do it.
But in the end, after three hours, she cracked just enough to allow Swiatek to break and serve out the match.
So the sets streak ends at 28. The 22-match win streak begun in Doha is ongoing.
Notably, though, Swiatek might be hitting the wall a bit. She showed some wear against Raducanu. And even more against Samsonova. A big reason she won is that she’s just forgotten how to lose at this stage.
Swiatek vs Sabalenka Match History
|2022||Doha (QF)||Outdoor Hard||6-2, 6-3||Swiatek|
|2021||WTA Finals (RR)||Outdoor Hard||2-6, 6-2, 7-5||Sabalenka|
Sabalenka Finding Form despite Double Faults
The 23-year-old Russian came into Stuttgart with a sub-.500 record on the year. And it feels as though the challenged posed by 2019 US Open champ Bianca Andreescu in the second round somehow helped flip a switch.
Sabalenka is still struggling with the double faults – she has 20 in 36 service games over her three matches in Stuttgart. But in her last two matches, she has had more aces than double faults to help offset it. And Sabalenka is getting better at turning the page on them and not letting them affect the next string of points.
Sabalenka: “Im happy I hit only 10 double faults” 🤣🤣🤣 pic.twitter.com/m4IsgLimmy
— LorenaPopa 🕵️♀️🎾 (@popalorena) January 22, 2022
Against Paula Badosa Saturday (Badosa came in with a 2-0 head-to-head record), she was relatively efficient in winning in two close sets. The Belarusian won 40 per cent of the points on return, and Badosa has a very good serve.
Badosa was up 5-2 in the first set, and 4-1 in a first-set tiebreak she lost 7-5. She also was up a break in the second set. And in a reverse twist of fate, she handed the match to Sabalenka by double-faulting away the final two points.
Who Will Win? Potential Upset Brewing
All of this is leading up to a match that, despite Swiatek being the favorite, certain feels as though it could lean Sabalenka’s way.
Swiatek played later Saturday, and played longer and expended a lot more energy.
Sabalenka has the game to beat her. And she has beaten her. And all good things have to come to an end, right?
Best Bet: Sabalenka (+150)
Stephanie gets the straight dope from the tennis insiders. On court, she has represented her country internationally. A BA in journalism led to years on the MLB beat and a decade covering tennis globally. She’s written for Postmedia, the Guardian, the New York Times and also publishes OpenCourt.ca.