Italian Open: Aryna Sabalenka brushes aside Danielle Collins; sets blockbuster Iga Swiatek clash in final

Sports Friday 17/May/2024 07:54 AM
Italian Open: Aryna Sabalenka brushes aside Danielle Collins; sets blockbuster Iga Swiatek clash in final

Rome: World No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka sealed a spot in her maiden Italian Open final after clinching a victory over No.13 seed Danielle Collins in the semi-final clash.

With her 7-5, 6-2 victory in one hour and 23-minute semifinal, Sabalenka now holds the 6-0 lead against Collins.

"I'm super happy to be in my first final in Rome. I think I played really great tennis today. I'm super happy with the win, especially in two sets, against Danielle," Sabalenka said afterwards the match as quoted by WTA.

In the semi-final clash, Sabalenka thrilled the crowd at the Centre Court with her deft drop shot winners and power game.

Sabalenka took a 4-1 lead thanks to a few brilliant drop shots that she scored with. Two games later, though, Collins scorched a couple of blistering returns to gain a break point, and following a double fault by Sabalenka, the set was back on serve at 4-3.

It wasn't until a missed Collins forehand gave Sabalenka double set point at 6-5 before either player faced another break point. Collins saved one with a deep forehand winner, but the American's second forehand struck the net.

In the second set, Sabalenka won with ease and never faced a break point. In contrast to Collins' 15, Sabalenka recorded 21 winners in the match, and the No. 2 seed was 4 for 7 on break points.

"I think the level is there, the tennis is there, that I got everything to get this win. I just have to focus on myself, I guess, and not rush things, wait for the right shot to finish the point," Sabalenka said.

Meanwhile, Sabalenka will need to win a rematch against World No. 1 Iga Swiatek, who defeated No. 3 Coco Gauff in the first semifinal, in order to continue her campaign for a maiden Rome title.

In the Madrid final two weeks ago, Sabalenka had three championship points against Swiatek, but Swiatek prevailed in an instant classic matchup to win her first Madrid trophy. In their head-to-head match overall, Swiatek is ahead 7-3.

Sabalenka and Swiatek will square off for the seventh time in a final, all of them on clay. Swiatek defeated Sabalenka in the Stuttgart finals in 2022 and 2023 in addition to her victory in the Madrid final two weeks ago. In the Madrid final of 2023, Sabalenka prevailed over Swiatek. (ANI)