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Iga Swiatek: World No 1 defeats Aryna Sabalenka in Mutua Madrid Open classic

Iga Swiatek edges Aryna Sabalenka in a gripping Madrid Open final to win the title for the first time on Saturday in what was a repeat of last year's showpiece.; you can watch over 80 tournaments a year, including the US Open, exclusively live on Sky Sports Tennis

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Highlights as Iga Swiatek overcame Aryna Sabalenka at the Mutua Madrid Open in a classic encounter lasting over three hours

World No 1 Iga Swiatek saved three championship points to dethrone Aryna Sabalenka in a 7-5 4-6 7-6 (9-7) classic at the Madrid Open on Saturday.

Sabalenka had won the 2023 final in three sets but it was Swiatek who triumphed this time to secure her 20th career title and deny the Belarusian a third title on the red clay of the Spanish capital.

The match was the first contest of the season between the top two in the women's rankings and it lived up to expectations, going down as the longest encounter between the two Grand Slam champions at three hours and 11 minutes.

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Swiatek reflected on her tough Madrid Open final against Sabalenka and what winning the tournament meant to her

"It is always a challenge playing against you Aryna, so thanks for motivating me and forcing me to be a better player," Swiatek said on court after winning her 20th career title.

"I want to thank my team. I've had pretty nice speeches before so I don't know what else to say to make it feel special. But I think what you saw on court was pretty special anyway.

"Thank you for sticking with me through the ups and downs. For understanding and motivating me because without you I wouldn't be here. I hope we're going to continue progressing. That's the most important thing at the end. I want to thank my family who's watching."

The world No 1 had taken the opening set before Sabalenka, looking to retain her title at Manolo Santana Stadium, regained momentum to level and then forged 3-1 ahead in the decider.

Also See:

Iga's BIG three

Swiatek now has won all three big clay titles in her career:

Madrid - 2024

Rome - 2021, 2022

French Open - 2020, 2022, 2023

Just the fourth WTA player to do it after Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Simona Halep

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Swiatek conjured up this winner in a dramatic Madrid Open final in supreme fashion

World No 2 Sabalenka had two championship points when leading 6-5 at the end of the decider, but was unable to convert either as Swiatek again dug in to find a winning return at the crucial moment.

The first six points of the tie-break stayed on serve before a booming forehand from Sabalenka brought up a mini-break, but Swiatek immediately recovered again.

With the scores locked again at 5-5, Sabalenka sent a return long to give Swiatek a mini-break and her first championship point of the match, only for the Belarussian to produce an ace.

Swiatek was then left serving to save the match after another over-hit forehand, but again Sabalenka could not make the most of her chance, with two long returns swinging momentum back to the top seed.

Sabalenka, 25, lashed over another backhand, which dropped just out of the court as Swiatek completed a remarkable recovery.

Swiatek had lost only one set across her five wins in Madrid on the way to setting up a repeat of last year's final, which Sabalenka had won in three sets.

The 22-year-old Pole, already a three-time champion at Roland Garros, has now secured the one big European clay tournament which had eluded her.

Two-time Australian Open champion Sabalenka said: "Congrats Iga on another great tournament. You did an incredible job. Hopefully next year it goes to me. Three hours. That's a long one! Hopefully we recover fast for the next tournament."

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A confetti cannon caught Swiatek and the Sky Sports Tennis panel off guard during her trophy lift at the Madrid Open!

Social media reaction to epic final

'One of the best matches I've ever witnessed'

"The quality they were able to display for over three hours was phenomenal. That was high-quality stuff," said Anne Keothavong on Sky Sports Tennis.

"It was a gutsy performance from both players.

"That was one of the best matches I've ever witnessed courtside. High-quality, high-drama, I just want more of that."

Tale of the Tape

Swiatek vs Sabalenka: Match Stats

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