STUTTGART, Germany -- World No.1 Iga Swiatek will take on 2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu in the quarterfinals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix on Friday. 

Here's how the matchup shapes up:

The case for Swiatek 

The quest for the Stuttgart three-peat is on. With her 6-3, 6-3 win over Elise Mertens on Thursday, the two-time champion moved her sparkling record at the Porsche-Arena to 9-0. 

Swiatek looked well at ease in her first match on the clay since her third Roland Garros triumph last year, showing no ill-effects of the quick turnaround from her hard-court turn at Billie Jean King Cup last weekend. It was another ominous sign from the World No.1. Not that she needed much to bolster her reputation in the locker room as the tour's dominant clay-courter.

"I think she's a great example for all of us," Marketa Vondrousova said earlier in the week. "And now clay is coming, so I think it's gonna be very scary."

Swiatek holds a 2-0 head-to-head record over Raducanu, winning all four sets the two have played. They also meet at the junior level, where Swiatek rolled past Raducanu 6-0, 6-1 en route to the junior Wimbledon title in 2018. 

"Well, she seems like she's getting her game back together, so it's great to see that, because for sure she has potential," Swiatek said. "It's not going to be easy. She knows how to spin the ball and how to move on clay, as well."

Swiatek has lost only nine matches on clay in her entire career, holding a 64-9 record. 

As she looks to become the first player since Maria Sharapova to triple up in Stuttgart, Swiatek can tap into her experience earlier in the year in Doha, where she completed the first three-peat of her career. It was a pressure-packed week that she handled with aplomb. She did not lose a set. 

"There is always pressure behind me somewhere, you know," Swiatek said. "You can't avoid that on this level and when you're a favorite in every match. So I'm not really thinking about that.

"It's tricky to win three times. I remember how I felt in Doha at the beginning of the tournament. Things were kind of following me, and it was hard to let it go."

Swiatek has dropped a set in each of her previous title runs in Stuttgart. That fact will keep her on her toes as she prepares herself for this matchup between major champions. 

"It's never an easy tournament, so I don't expect it," Swiatek said. "I'm not taking it for granted or anything. I know that anything can happen in tennis, and if I lose, it's going to obviously be, like, a huge surprise, but it's normal, you know? So I'll try to focus on each match at a time and not think about winning, because it's still a long way."

"It's obviously going to be a really difficult match tomorrow but one where I have zero to lose and I think one that the crowd really want to see."

- Emma Raducanu

The case for Raducanu

For the first time since her history-making run to the US Open title three years ago, Raducanu has strung together four consecutive match-wins. 

The run began over the weekend at the Billie Jean King, where she led Great Britain to victory with three-set wins over Caroline Garcia and Diane Parry. The momentum has continued in Stuttgart. Into the event as a wild card, Raducanu lost three games to Angelique Kerber and eased past Linda Noskova 6-0, 6-4. 

The streak has been run on clay, a fact that doesn't surprise Raducanu. She's never been allergic to the dirt. 

"I think it's, one, low expectations," Raducanu said. "You go out there, you're, like, 'OK, we have like two, three clay courts in Great Britain that we can use and practice on it for two weeks. Hey, let's give it a go.'

"It's a combination of that, but it's also I think since a young age I always love moving on this surface. I love sliding. I feel like I'm pretty good at sliding on both legs, which is a strength."

Raducanu holds off Noskova, sets Stuttgart showdown vs. Swiatek

But the success ultimately stems from the hard yards Raducanu has been able to put in since coming back from her season-ending surgery last year. The 21-year-old is stronger than she's ever been, and with that has come self-belief and improved rally discipline. 

"I think the fitter I get and the more clean my technique gets, the more I'm able to kind of stay in the longer points and generate from further back," Raducanu said, "whereas I feel maybe before I was having to hug the baseline, play a hard court game on clay as well. It works sometimes, but it doesn't always work. 

"I feel like I'm developing more versatility in the way I play. I can adjust. I can adapt. That's a big strength, because certain things, you get into a match and they don't work from the initial plan, so you have to change something. You can completely switch the dynamics of a match sometimes."

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Raducanu has never been as strong and confident as she will be when she faces Swiatek on Friday. When the two met for the first time on the tour level, here in Stuttgart in 2022, Swiatek was in the midst of her 37-match win streak. Raducanu pushed her in a 6-4, 6-4 loss.

Once again, she has nothing to lose and can swing freely, and when Raducanu can do that, well, everyone saw what happened in New York. 

"It's no secret that I'm tired," Raducanu said. "I have played, like, a lot of tennis in the last week, but I'd way rather be in this position where I have a lot of matches under my belt, feeling confident and good on the court, and tired.

"I think, to be honest, it's a win-win from now. If I win, great. If I don't, I get to rest."