Iga Swiatek has no Madrid Open final regrets, but takes dig at organisers over 1am matches

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Aryna Sabalenka and Iga Swiatek Credit: Alamy
Aryna Sabalenka and Iga Swiatek Credit: Alamy

Iga Swiatek praised Aryna Sabalenka for being better on the day in the Madrid Open final, but she also made sure organisers know that she was unimpressed with their scheduling.

The world No 1 lost only her second match on clay since the start of the 2022 season as she went down 3-6, 6-3, 3-6 in a fierce match against Sabalenka in what was the first time the top two players have met in a WTA 1000 final since the 2014 Miami Open.

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It was the second time that the two had met in just over a fortnight as Swiatek got the better of the world No 2 in the Stuttgart final and she had won the previous three matches against the Belarusian without dropping a set.

However, Sabalenka got her revenge as she held tough in the difficult moments, claiming the decisive break in game eight of the decider before winning on her fourth match point.

Swiatek was full of praise for her rival and the general quality of the match.

“We just played on a good level, but [Sabalenka] was better today,” the three-time Grand Slam winner said. “Maybe sometimes I could be more proactive, but honestly, I think we both played good. I don’t have any big regrets.”

The Pole added: “Sometimes it’s tougher, sometimes it’s easier. That’s why we have variety in tennis, and that’s why sometimes players are playing better on some surfaces and some on different [surfaces]. But it doesn’t really matter because she won, and I just respect that and I don’t want to take it from Aryna.”

The Madrid Open was extended to a two-week tournament this year, but several matches still finished in the early hours of the morning and Swiatek was also one of those who fell victim to the scheduling.

During the post-match presentation ceremony Swiatek said: “It’s not fun to play at 1am though but I’m happy anyway that I was able to get past this experience and survive and be in the final.”

Her semi-final win over Veronika Kudermetova finished after midnight and even then she was unimpressed although she didn’t think it made much of a difference during matches.

“This hour is tricky only because what’s going on after, you know, going to sleep really late and then waking up the next day,” she said. “But before the match and during, I don’t think it matters. We just have to kind of adjust tactics.”

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