In a historic first, the World No.1 and No.2 players met in the Rome final, where top-seeded Iga Swiatek defeated Aryna Sabalenka 6-2, 6-3 on Saturday to win the Internazionali BNL d'Italia title.

Swiatek needed 1 hour and 29 minutes to beat Sabalenka for the eighth time in their 11 meetings. Swiatek has triumphed in Rome in three of the last four years, also taking the WTA 1000 title in 2021 and 2022.

"I kind of knew that if I'm going to work hard and if I'm going to be in the right mindset, this is achievable," Swiatek said afterward. "I'm happy I was so focused and disciplined throughout the tournament to do that."

Stat corner: Swiatek's run to her 21st career WTA singles title, and her fourth of this year, increases a number of her staggering statistics.

Swiatek has now won her last eight singles finals. The last time the Polish player lost in a final was to Sabalenka at Madrid last year -- which is also the only time Sabalenka has defeated Swiatek in the five times they've met in finals (all of those on clay). 

Rome becomes the third tournament where Swiatek is a three-time champion. Swiatek has also won three titles at Roland Garros (2020, 2022 and 2023) and Doha (2022, 2023 and 2024).

Swiatek also defeated Sabalenka in the Mutua Madrid Open final two weeks ago (saving three championship points) and she becomes the third player to win Rome and Madrid in the same year. Dinara Safina pulled off the double in 2009, and Serena Williams followed suit in 2013.

"For sure this match looked a little bit differently than in Madrid," Swiatek said. "I felt like I'm putting a lot of pressure. I just continued doing that throughout the whole match. Really proud of myself and really happy."

Swiatek, who turns 23 at the end of this month, is only the second woman to win three or more Internazionali BNL d'Italia titles before the age of 23 in the Open Era (since 1969). Gabriela Sabatini won four Rome titles before her 22nd birthday.

Tale of the tape: In Saturday’s final, strong depth on return gave Swiatek an early lead, breaking at love for 2-1. Swiatek was the steadier of the pair in the opening frame as she eased to the one-set advantage.

In the second set, Sabalenka came out firing, hitting more winners in the first two games than she had in the entire opening set (five). Sabalenka was rewarded with her first break points of the day, where she had five chances to break for an early 2-0 lead.

However, Swiatek is this year’s tour leader in break points saved, and she demonstrated that skill once again. The top seed found strong serves as she erased all of those break points, gritting out a crucial hold for 1-1 to keep pace with Sabalenka.

Turning point: How Swiatek saved all seven break points in the Rome final

Swiatek saved two more break points in her following service game as well, which proved to be the last moment of peril on her delivery. She ended the final 7-for-7 on break points saved.

Swiatek took the lead for good at 4-3 after a netted backhand by Sabalenka ceded the first break of the second set. The World No.1 broke one more time for good measure to wrap up her latest WTA 1000 clay-court title.