World No.2 Aryna Sabalenka notched a statement victory in the Mutua Madrid Open final on Saturday, besting World No.1 Iga Swiatek 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 for her tour-leading third title of the year.

Sabalenka needed 2 hours and 26 minutes to beat top-seeded Swiatek to win Madrid for the second time in the past three years and 13th title overall.

"It's always tough battles against Iga," Sabalenka said after her win. "She always pushes me to the limits. I really enjoy our battles. Hopefully, we can play many more finals this season."

Madrid magic: Coming into the final, Sabalenka had never taken a set off of Swiatek in their three previous clay-court meetings. In fact, they had faced off in the final of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix less than two weeks ago, where Swiatek collected a dominant 6-3, 6-4 victory on indoor clay.

However, Sabalenka turned that record around in a hard-hitting display on Manolo Santana Stadium on Saturday, notching her tour-leading 29th match-win of the season. Sabalenka picked up her first title since she won her first Grand Slam championship at the Australian Open at the start of February.

Both of Sabalenka’s Madrid titles have come at the expense of the reigning World No.1 in the final. Two years ago, Sabalenka beat then-World No.1 Ashleigh Barty to collect the crown.

No.2 knocks out No.1: The growing rivalry between Sabalenka and Swiatek led to the first WTA 1000 final between the top two-ranked players on tour since No.1 Serena Williams beat No.2 Li Na to win the 2014 Miami Open.

After the back-to-back finals between Sabalenka and Swiatek, it is just the third time in the past 40 years that No.1 and No.2 have met twice on clay in a single season, along with 1984 (Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert at Amelia Island and Roland Garros) and 2013 (Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova in Madrid and Roland Garros).

Diego Souto/Mutua Madrid Open

Tale of the match: Sabalenka was the first to chip away on return, and she converted her fourth break point of the day to take a critical 5-3 lead in the first set. An ace gave Sabalenka her first set point in that game, which she converted with an error-forcing backhand.

In the second set, Swiatek saw her 3-0 lead slide all the way back to 3-3, but the top seed slammed a return winner to reclaim her break advantage at 5-3. Swiatek served out the set to tie up the match, after halving her unforced errors from eight in the first set to four in the second.

A gripping third set saw Sabalenka lead 3-0, only to drop her serve at love with a double fault and let Swiatek pull back on serve at 3-2. But the Sabalenka power game held sway down the stretch, as she cracked a forehand winner crosscourt to break for 5-3.

Sabalenka needed four championship points to break through Swiatek's defense, at last closing out the win with one final forehand. Sabalenka's 32 winners nearly doubled Swiatek's 17.

"[The third set] wasn't easy at all, but I kind of expect something like that from Iga, that she's gonna fight for the last point," Sabalenka said. "Super happy how I was able to mentally handle this situation and to keep fighting and keep trying."