Super Iga Swiatek sweeps aside Ons Jabeur to land Italian Open crown

Iga Swiatek successfully defended her Italian Open crown with a commanding 6-2 6-2 victory over Ons Jabeur in Rome on Sunday.

The world number one continued her rich vein of form on the WTA tour as she triumphed in a fifth successive tournament, adding to her successes in Doha, Indian Wells, Miami and Stuttgart.

The 20-year-old became the fourth player to do so in the 2000s – after Venus Williams, Justine Henin and Serena Williams – while extending her winning streak to 28 matches.

Swiatek, who is the ninth different player to win back-to-back titles in Rome, is also now the joint-most successful Polish player in WTA 1000 Masters history with five titles – level with Agnieszka Radwanska.

“At the beginning of the tournament, I didn’t know it would be possible to keep up the streak and with all the wins,” she said.

“I’m pretty happy I did it really step by step and I just focused on the right things, because I think it led to all the success this week.

“It’s pretty hard to describe it because all these tournaments that I’ve won seem pretty surreal right now.

“I feel like just continuing the same things that I did before really was the key to that. It’s pretty weird because you may think every tournament, that it takes something more.

“But I’m pretty happy with my solid game; I was able to just play good and also improve during the tournament.”

The reigning champion had dropped just 17 games on the way to reaching her second successive final in the Italian capital.

Her dominant form continued as she broke straightaway to establish control on Centrale at 3-0, before holding serve to win her 41st set from a possible 42.

Back-to-back breaks followed in the second set as Swiatek closed in on a record-equalling fifth title of the year, which would move her level with Serena Williams (five in 2013).

Appearing in her second successive final, Madrid Open champion Jabeur stopped the rot by breaking back immediately and holding to reduce the deficit to 4-2.

Protecting a run of 11 straight victories, the Tunisian threatened to move to within touching distance of Swiatek at 40-0 against the serve in the next.

However, the Pole demonstrated her true gladiatorial qualities; rescuing four break points to move to within a game of an emotional victory, which she secured to maintain her impressive WTA final record (8-1).

Iga Swiatek and Ons Jabeur go head to head in what promises to be a mouth-watering Italian Open final in Rome on Sunday.

The WTA 1000 event concludes with a battle between the two in-form players so far in 2022.

Reigning champion Swiatek is seeking her fifth title of the year already, having triumphed in Dubai, Indian Wells, Miami and Stuttgart.

The world number one has won a tour-best 34 matches this season – including each of her last 27 – and lost just one the last 41 sets she has played.

That red-hot streak form has continued in Rome. The 20-year-old, who is targeting a first successful title defence in her career, has dropped just 17 games all week; ruthlessly putting third seed Aryna Sabalenka to the sword 6-2 6-1 in the semi-finals.

Although, she was beaten by Jabeur in both of their meetings last year at Wimbledon and Cincinatti.

The ninth seed became the first Arab WTA winner in Madrid last week, and is now aiming to become only the third player to follow that up with victory in Rome in successive weeks after Dinara Safina and Serena Williams.

The Tunisian, who also reached the final in Charleston, is the form player on clay this season; her tally of 17 victories the best on the tour.

Like Swiatek, Jabeur is also protecting an impressive winning streak, having now prevailed in each of her last 11 matches.

But will she be the player that finally ends the Pole’s relentless run?

Play gets underway at 12pm BST on Sunday with the final contested over the best of three sets in Rome.

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Watch Iga Swiatek vs Ons Jabeur 2022 WTA Italian Open live stream on laptop, mobile or tablet devices

Sofia Kenin and Ons Jabeur clash in a rematch of their Australian Open quarterfinal at the US Open on Saturday.

Kenin vs Jabeur is live from New York on Saturday 5 September, 6pm local/11pm BST

Sofia Kenin defeated Ons Jabeur on her way to her maiden Grand Slam title in January, and despite flying under the radar in the build-up to the US Open, the second seed is beginning to look very good and is yet to lose serve in New York.

US Open 2020: Tournament information, schedules, latest news and live streaming information for the resilient Grand Slam in New York

Tunisia’s trailblazer Jabeur is playing the best tennis of her career right now – but she’s never been able to find a way past Kenin on hard courts. Can she avoid dropping to 1-5 vs the counterpunching American on Saturday?

Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.

How to watch Kenin vs Jabeur live

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Kenin vs Jabeur: Head-to-head

Kenin leads the head-to-head with Jabeur 4-1, and has won both their previous meetings on hard courts in straight sets, including a 6-4, 6-4 victory in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open.

Kenin vs Jabeur: Preview

Despite the fact that she’s seeded second at this year’s US Open, Sofia Kenin has been little discussed in the run-up to the tournament – perhaps because she is in the same half of the draw as better-established Grand Slam champions like Serena Williams, Garbine Muguruza and Victoria Azarenka, who she could face in the quarterfinals; and perhaps because the unusual events of 2020 meant that Kenin’s surprise win at the Australian Open received less attention that it usually might have.

Kenin did lose three of her next four matches after winning in Melbourne, but rebounded by winning her second WTA Tour title of the year in Lyon; she lost her only match coming into the US Open to Alize Cornet in straight sets, but she’s yet to lose a set or even have her serve broken in New York after wins over former semifinalist Yanina Wickmayer and rising Canadian Leylah Annie Fernandez. I thought that Fernandez, a talented young lefty, might cause Kenin problems but actually the 21-year-old handled the Canadian with ease, winning 6-4, 6-3 to reach the third round.

US Open Predictions and Betting Tips: Outright winner tips for men’s & women’s singles at the 2020 US Open

Kenin’s next task is to snap her three-match losing streak in US Open third rounds, and she’s up against an in-form but extremely familiar opponent in the form of Ons Jabeur, who she has played five times before – most recently beating Jabeur in the quarterfinals in Melbourne in January.

Ons Jabeur was a quarterfinalist in Lexington and ‘Cincinnati’ (PA Images)

That run to the last eight in Melbourne was a historic one for Jabeur, who became the first Arab player to reach the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam. The 26-year-old Tunisian is a familiar face on the WTA Tour but has truly found her feet in the past couple of years, starting with a run to the final of Moscow at the end of 2018. She is 22-7 so far in 2020, and came into the US Open as one of the most in-form players thanks to runs to the quarterfinals of Lexington and ‘Cincinnati’. And a win over perennial dark horse Kaia Kanepi, a six-time Grand Slam quarterfinalist, 7-6(8), 6-0 in the second round must always impress.

Is there a way for Jabeur to beat Kenin? It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that it’s simply a very bad match-up for the Tunisian. Kenin is, fundamentally, a defensive counterpuncher but she’s also very quick to look for opportunities to transition forward into the court; Jabeur is an attacking player, an improviser, who thrives on producing unexpected winners. Kenin’s fantastic anticipation and footspeed makes patient point construction, of the kind Jabeur does not excel at, or sheer power the only way to beat her.

Kenin vs Jabeur: Prediction

Teenage superstar in the making Coco Gauff looks to secure a place in the second WTA semifinal of her career as she faces Arab trailblazer Ons Jabeur in Lexington.

Coco Gauff vs Ons Jabeur | WTA Lexington QF | 13/8/2020
Coco Gauff to win
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Gauff vs Jabeur is live from Lexington on Friday 14 August at 4pm local/9pm BST

Sixteen-year-old sensation Coco Gauff is aiming to reach her first WTA Tour semifinal on home soil as the WTA restart event in Lexington, Kentucky heads towards the weekend in triumphant style.

WTA Lexington: Tournament information, schedules and live streams for the Top Seed Open

After ousting second seed Aryna Sabalenka in a lengthy contest, Gauff takes aim at eighth seed Ons Jabeur, the unconventional trailblazer who made a historic run to the Australian Open quarterfinals in January.

Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.

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Gauff vs Jabeur: Head-to-head

This will be the first meeting between Gauff and Jabeur.

Gauff vs Jabeur: Preview

Gauff’s absence from competition has been even longer than most – she has not played since losing in the fourth round of the Australian Open in January to eventual champion Sofia Kenin – but the 16-year-old has been just as impressive on her return to WTA Tour tennis as she was before the hiatus, recording wins over Caroline Dolehide and Aryna Sabalenka to make the quarterfinals in Lexington.

That’s not to say that there hasn’t been rust evident for Gauff. She served well but struggled with some other aspects of her game in a 7-5, 7-5 victory over Dolehide; against world no. 11 Sabalenka, the reverse was the case with Gauff’s serve probably the weakest part of her performance.

It was, overall, an incredibly impressive performance. Second-seeded Sabalenka was playing fantastic tennis before the shutdown, winning the Qatar Total Open in Doha, and she brought her full arsenal of blistering power off both wings to the clash, complete with patches of wild unforced errors. The Belarusian was the first to break in the clash before Gauff broke back and led 5-2, only for Sabalenka to reel off five games and serve for the set at 6-5. The swings of momentum in the match were primarily attributable to Sabalenka’s game going on and off the boil, but Gauff really impressed with the way she handled those swings, and continued to deliver on the key moments: Sabalenka’s unforced errors were mainly responsible for the 5-0 lead to which Gauff jumped out in the tie-break, but then the Belarusian played much better tennis and threatened to get back on level terms, only for Gauff to pull out some tremendous tennis to close out the set, showcasing an impressive turn of speed to chase down Sabalenka’s short ball for the winner.

Eight double faults from Gauff (for just two aces) was not what the young American wanted, but she saved 9 of the 16 break points she faced compared to 5 of 12 saved by Sabalenka, and when the third set began with a frustrating exchange of breaks she continued to impress with her resilience.

Ons Jabeur made a historic quarterfinal at the Australian Open in January (PA Images)

She’ll need the same quality against Ons Jabeur. The Tunisian has been a connoisseur’s choice for some years now, but since her run to the Moscow final at the end of 2018, Jabeur has been showing that her unconventional brand of tennis can be as effective as it is watchable. In 2019, she made semifinals in Eastbourne and Tianjin, and reached the third round of the US Open; and at the Australian Open in January, she made history as the first Arab woman to reach the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam as she defeated Caroline Wozniacki, Johanna Konta and Wang Qiang before eventually falling to Sofia Kenin.

Before the shutdown, Jabeur snapped a six-match losing streak to top-10 players when she beat Karolina Pliskova in Doha, and despite obvious and to-be-expected rust, she has been playing well in Lexington. A 6-2, 6-4 victory over Caty McNally was followed by an impressive comeback from a set down against match-tough qualifier Olga Govortsova in the second round, the eighth seed shaking off a frustrating, low-energy first set to win 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.

The anticipation and footspeed Gauff showed in chasing down Sabalenka’s short balls will stand her in good stead against Jabeur, but as much as anything, it’s Gauff’s propensity to elicit errors from her opponent that give her the advantage in this one. Jabeur will likely hit a hot streak at some point and take a set, but Gauff should be able to outsteady the Tunisian to make her second WTA Tour career semifinal in Lexington.

Gauff vs Jabeur: Prediction

Coco Gauff vs Ons Jabeur | WTA Lexington QF | 13/8/2020
Coco Gauff to win
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