Although still quite far away, Iga Swiatek seems to be building a streak along the lines of the one that tennis legend Serena Williams went on a few years ago.
Swiatek kicked off her 2023 Madrid Open campaign with a comfortable win against lucky loser Julia Grabher. The Pole defeated the Austrian qualifier 6-3, 6-2 in the second round on Friday, April 28. Grabher came in as a replacement for 2021 US Open winner Emma Raducanu, who withdrew due to a hand injury.
This was Swiatek’s 12th consecutive main draw win in a WTA 1000 clay tournament. The streak began with the 21-year-old winning six matches on her way to lifting the 2021 Italian Open title. She beat Barbora Krejcikova, Elina Svitolina, and Coco Gauff before handing over a couple of bagels to Karolina Pliskova in the final.
The three-time Grand Slam champion remained absent from the 2022 Madrid Open due to an injury but successfully defended her title in Rome as she downed Victoria Azarenka, Bianca Andreescu, Aryna Sabalenka, and Ons Jabeur. She won five matches after receiving a bye in the first round.
Since 2009, the only player who has won more successive matches in the WTA 1000 clay events is 23-time Grand Slam champion Williams — a staggering 33 victories.
12 – Only Serena Williams (33, between Madrid 2012 and Madrid 2015) has won more consecutive WTA-1000 clay courts main draw matches than Iga Swiatek (12, current streak started in Rome 2021) – since 2009. Sensations.
The American icon, who retired at the 2022 US Open, won the Madrid Open in 2012 and reached the semifinals in Rome, but withdrew before her match against Li Na due to a lower back injury.
Williams won both tournaments in 2013 and didn’t drop a set in her first three matches at the 2014 Madrid Open. However, another injury saw her pull out before her quarterfinal clash against Petra Kvitova, thus keeping her streak alive. The 41-year-old defended her title in Rome.
The streak eventually came to an end in the semifinals of the 2015 Madrid Open, where she was beaten by Kvitova.
Iga Swiatek will take on 28th seed Bernarda Pera in the third round in Madrid on Sunday, April 30. This will be the first tour-level meeting between the two players.
After defeating 92nd-ranked Julia Grabher, Swiatek expressed her delight at making it to the Round of 32.
“First matches are tricky, so I’m happy that I’m through and I already have this experience of playing on center court,” Iga Swiatek said. “It’s true it’s a little bit different than the practice court, but I’m happy that I’m through and I’m gonna have more chances.”
The Pole has a 21-4 record so far this season, having won the Qatar Open as well as the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart.