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Swiatek routs Pliskova to win Italian Open ladies title

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Poland’s Iga Swiatek, seeded 15th, demolished ninth-seeded Karolina Pliskova of Czech Republic 6/0, 6/0 to lift the ladies trophy in Rome. The one-sided encounter lasted just 46 minutes. It was their first career meeting, but the third career WTA title for the Polish youngster, after 2020 French Open at Rolland Garros and 2021 Adelaide International in Australia.

Swiatek served first and held 1-0. Pliskova committed two double faults in the second and fourth games to give the teenager a 4-0 lead. The first set was wrapped up in 19 minutes on a third break of the Pliskova serve.

In the second set, Pliskova could not seal two break points in the third game. In the sixth game of the second set, Pliskova led 40-15 but did not hold the serve. At match point, Pliskova ’hit a forehand that landed beyond Swiatek’s left sideline. Could the lopsided result be traced to their respective paths to the finals?

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In the first round, Swiatek walked over American Anne Riske (U.S.) when she was leading 5/4 in the first set. She had a prolonged first set against Madison Keys in the second round and almost lost to Czech Barbora Krejcikova 3/6, 7/5(5), 7/5 in the third round.

In the quarterfinals, she defeated fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina of Ukraine 6/2, 7/5. In the semi-finals encounter with Coco Gauf of the United States, Swiatek won the first set tiebreaker by seven points to three and took the second set 6/3.

Pliskova, however, battled through three sets to defeat Croatian Petra Martic 6/1, 3/6, 6/2 in the semifinals. She saved two match points before outlasting Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko 4/6, 7/5, 7/6(1) in the quarters after easy victories in the first and second rounds.

It was a classic battle of generations, between the 29-year-old Pliskova and the 19-year-old Swiatek, whose victory will take her to the top ten in the rankings.

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