Iga Swiatek has no regrets after Madrid loss

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The Princess of Clay remains resolute despite her latest loss. Swiatek arrived at her third final of 2023 on the back of a nine-match winning streak and was the favourite to rack up what would have been a 14th career title. But Sabalenka triumphed in a seesaw affair on the clay courts of Spain, winning a tense three-set final to exact revenge on the Pole who defeated her in the Stuttgart final last month. The pair have a growing rivalry, having met eight times before. Swiatek leads the head-to-head 5-3.

In her post-match press conference, Swiatek gave credit where it was due. "We just played on a good level, but [Sabalenka] was better today," said the 21-year-old, as per wtatennis.com. "Maybe sometimes I could be more proactive, but honestly, I think we both played good. I don't have any big regrets." "I think [the final] was really tight, and it was a matter of kind of a few centimeters, you know, and sometimes it's in, sometimes it's out. But I did my best to keep the intensity and still keep the control here. "Maybe next year I'm gonna know better if I can do even more or not, but for sure I did 100 percent of what I could, so no regrets." While Swiatek holds onto her mantle at the top of the rankings, Sabalenka has closed the gap. With the French Open looming later this month, Swiatek is all too aware of the target on her back. "People are saying it's tough to get to the top, but staying at the top is even tougher," she added. "I don't know, I haven't lived enough to know if that's true or not. It's just a matter of not thinking about that you're gonna stay here, but it's more like reaching to other stuff that can motivate you and that you can do better, no matter what position you're in. "That was the change for me in terms of how I felt at the beginning of the season with the pressure of being World No.1, and how I feel right now." The Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome is the final tune-up before the second major of the season at Roland Garros, where Swiatek is defending champion and boasts a superlative 21-2 record.

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