Match Point: Swiatek crosses finish line

Iga Swiatek may have seen her spotless set streak end Saturday at the Porsche Grand Prix, but the world No. 1 still notched her 22nd consecutive match win after seeing off Liudmila Samsonova, 6-7 (4), 6-4, 7-5 to reach a fourth consecutive final.

“This match was so long. We had a lot of ups and downs. It’s like a marathon,” Swiatek told the crowd afterwards.

“So I’m pretty happy that at the end, I was super consistent and I could just play solid. I loosened up and played really fearlessly because she was serving really fast. All credit to her. She had a great run.”

Aryna Sabalenka awaits in an enthralling final-round Stuttgart showdown.

Squaring off for the first time, Swiatek built a 4-1 lead and looked well on her way to claiming her 29th consecutive set. It was not to be.

At 4-2, 30-40, a double fault put Samsonova back on serve, though she immediately faced four break points, including three at 0-40, after the changeover. Swiatek made forehand unforced errors on the last two in missing a crucial opportunity to regain control.


Swiatek won 130 points to Samsonova's 120.

Swiatek won 130 points to Samsonova's 120.

In the tiebreaker, Swiatek pushed a forehand long to open proceedings. It’s all Samsonova would need, as her first serve and aggressive hitting came through in clinching the one-set lead. It marked the first set Swiatek conceded since Angelique Kerber took their first set in the fourth round of Indian Wells.

Swiatek saw four more break points come and go at 2-1 in the second set. But outside of facing one deuce, the 20-year-old kept the pressure on her opponent’s racquet, making her move in the ninth game. At 4-4, 30-30, Samsonova yanked the first shot after her serve, a crosscourt forehand, well wide. Swiatek pounced, nailing a deep backhand return to handcuff the Russian. With a confident game at the line, Swiatek quickly sent the contest into a decider.

Both competitors struggled to hold early in the third set, as spectators watched three consecutive breaks unfold. The top seed consolidated with a backhand crosscourt finish off a serve +1, then lost the advantage at 3-2 when her forehand flew long.

Samsonova survived a four-deuce game and a handful of blistering returns at 4-4 but Swiatek kept plugging away, breaking for 6-5 when her backhand return had enough on it to draw an error. She closed out the hard-fought victory after three hours and three minutes.

Swiatek is now 29-3 on the year.