Swiatek takes title in Rome as win streak hits 28

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ROME — Iga Swiatek is going into the French Open on quite a run.

The top-ranked Swiatek overwhelmed Ons Jabeur 6-2, 6-2 to defend her Italian Open title Sunday and extend her winning streak to 28 matches.

Swiatek was a surprise champion at the French Open in 2020 when she was ranked No. 54. Swiatek, 20, of Poland, is the favorite to add a second title at Roland Garros when the year’s second Grand Slam starts next Sunday.

Swiatek has won five straight titles during her run.

Jabeur was on an 11-match winning streak of her own entering the final after her Madrid Open title last week, but the Tunisian’s crafty game of drop shots and spins proved no match for Swiatek’s swift movement and accurate groundstrokes.

Wearing a ribbon attached to her hat featuring the colors of Ukraine’s flag, Swiatek took control right from the start, breaking Jabeur’s serve in the second game of the match with a mix of finesse and power.

Swiatek won one point in that second game with a forehand lob winner after drawing Jabeur forward with a well-placed drop shot, then on her first break point, she took a huge swipe at a second serve that Jabeur couldn’t control.

Swiatek also kept her composure when she saved four break points at a crucial point late in the second set, sliding in to reach a drop shot then responding with a splendid backhand volley drop winner on the final break point after a 19-shot rally.

When a backhand from Jabeur landed in the net to end the match, Swiatek sunk down to the clay and covered her face with her hands as she bent over toward the clay court.

The last player to win more consecutive matches was Serena Williams, who put together run of 34 straight ending in 2013. The all-time longest streak belongs to Martina Navratilova, who had a run of 74 in 1984.

Swiatek’s last defeat came in mid-February in Dubai to Jelena Ostapenko in a third-set tiebreaker. She has won 42 of the last 43 sets she’s contested.

Later on the red clay court at the Foro Italico, Novak Djokovic was playing Stefanos Tsitsipas in the men’s final.

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