Three quarterfinal matches in Rome were completed Friday before inclement weather shut down play. On Saturday, Elina Svitolina and Iga Swiatek will face off, with the winner joining Coco Gauff, Karolina Pliskova and Petra Martic in the semifinals of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia? Here's a breakdown of the final quarterfinal match in Rome:
No.5 Elina Svitolina vs. No.15 Iga Swiatek
These two have never officially played, which makes this a compelling contest in itself.
In brutally blustery conditions, Swiatek saved two match points and rallied to beat Barbora Krejcikova 3-6, 7-6 (5), 7-5. Svitolina, for her part, thumped No.12 Garbine Muguruza 6-4, 6-2, breaking the Spaniard seven times.
For the second straight match, Swiatek pulled herself out of a deep hole. In the second round, she trailed Madison Keys 3-5 in the first set and ran off nine straight games. Saving those match points against Krejcikova – and winning the second-set tiebreaker from 5-all – should give her confidence going forward.
“Usually in this situation I was the kind of a person that was kind of giving up mentally,” Swiatek said later. “So today, even though I wasn’t feeling perfect on court, I could manage with everything and win points.
“Tough day mentally. It was hard for me to be positive. So I kind of stopped thinking. Usually I wasn’t that patient, but today I’m pretty happy that I was.”
It hasn’t been a clean run for the 19-year-old Swiatek in Rome, but she’s finding form just in time to attempt a defense of her French Open final.
She’ll need it against Svitolina, who won the title here in 2017 and 2018. The 26-year-old from Ukraine has been working for three or four years on becoming more aggressive against the power players.
“They are really taking big swings, and you have no time to do anything,” Svitolina said. “You have to be really quick, on your toes all the time and try to create your own opportunities. That’s why I was going into the match with an aggressive mindset. In the end, I was composed.”
Svitolina and Swiatek were hitting partners for two weeks earlier this year in Australia.
“She’s a great fighter,” Svitolina said. “[I will] try to build the level that I showed today and try to be relaxed at the same time. I’m looking forward to this match.”