World No. 1 Iga Swiatek was delighted with her progress in Madrid after reaching the last four at a WTA 1000 tournament for the first time.
Swiatek is chasing her third place of the season after getting off to a winning start to her clay court debut in Stuttgart.
Croatia’s Petra Martic beat former French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova but was on the wrong end of a bagel from the famous Sviatek bakery.
After a 6-0, 6-3 win over Martic in just 69 minutes, Sviatek now faces 12th seed Veronika Kudermetova in the last four.
«I feel like I’m playing better and better every day,» Swiatek said afterward. “This is great, because at the beginning of the competition I didn’t know if this was possible. But I was patient and hoped to find this feeling, and today was definitely a good day. «
Swiatek has never lost to Kudermetova, but she has never underestimated an opponent who is enjoying a career-best run at the WTA 1000 tournament.
«For me, it doesn’t matter what we are,» says Swiatek. “I focus on myself and what I want to do on the court. Playing a semi-final is never easy. There are players who have already played in the semi-finals. … I’ll just be ready.”
Sviatek won seven games in Wednesday’s quarter-finals until Martic broke 30 in the first game of the second set.
Swiatek dropped just eight points in the first set, seven of which came on her serve. She dropped three points in the third game of the match.
The ranking queen is currently 19-2 in WTA quarterfinal matches. Ironically, both losses came on her favorite clay courts, to Maria Sacchari at Roland Garros in 2022 and to Caroline Garcia at her home event, the 2022 WTA 250 in Warsaw.
Swiatek now owns an eight-match winning streak on clay and looks poised to extend her lead at the top of the rankings, although No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka is still active and able to close that gap.
Sabalenka will face Maria Sakkari in the first leg of the Madrid Open semi-finals on Thursday. Swiatek will face Kudermettova in the evening match at Manolo Santana.
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