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Injured Swiatek bullish about French Open defence

Polish tennis player Iga Swiatek
Photo: photosport

World number one Iga Swiatek is optimistic a thigh injury will not prevent her from attempting to defend her French Open title.

The 21-year-old was forced to retire from her Italian Open quarter-final against Elena Rybakina with the issue on Wednesday.

“We did an examination with the physio afterwards,” said Swiatek.

“It shouldn’t be anything serious, so I’m pretty positive that I’ll be back soon.”

The three-time major winner needed treatment before retiring at 2-6 7-6 (7-3) 2-2 against Kazakhstan’s Rybakina.

Swiatek was in tears as she left the court for a medical timeout during the second-set tie-break and returned with strapping on her right thigh.

The Polish player won the previous two Italian Opens and was on a 14-match winning streak in Rome.

“For sure I feel tired. I think it was the right decision to stop playing because I felt pain when I was stretching, when I did harder movements,” she added.

“For me, the most important thing is to play it safe and not exploit my body so much in such difficult conditions, after having to play a few matches in night sessions and after midnight.

“I’m happy right now to have few days off because since [a previous tournament in] Stuttgart I wasn’t really able to recover with that tight schedule that we have on the WTA.”

The French Open at Roland Garros begins on 28 May.

In a message on social media on Thursday, Swiatek wrote: “A couple of days off for sure. And booking my flight to Paris, so fingers crossed, please.”

Tennis-Rybakina defeats Ostapenko in rain-delayed Italian Open semi-final

Meanwhile, seventh seed Elena Rybakina beat Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko 6-2 6-4 in a rain-delayed semi-final on Saturday and will play Anhelina Kalinina in Sunday’s final.

Rybakina prevailed in a fairly straight-forward first set in a match delayed by more than an hour – and then interrupted – due to persistent rain.

Ostapenko gained momentum in the second set and took a 3-0 lead but Rybakina shortened the distance to 4-2 just before rain briefly forced the players off court.

Rybakina was leading 40-15 in the game when play got suspended once more but the Kazakh player came out on top after it resumed, and rallied to win five games in a row in total to seal the victory.

“It was a really tough day overall, with all the rain delays. I’m just happy to be in the final,” Rybakina told a news conference.

“I didn’t start that well the second set. A bit low on energy, lost my serve. So it was difficult. Then a few good shots from (Ostapenko), good serves. It changed very quickly.

“I’m happy that physically I can maintain and stay so long in the tournament till the end.”

In her third WTA 1000 final of the season Rybakina will face 30th seed Kalinina, after the Ukrainian survived a second-set scare against Veronika Kudermetova of Russia in a battling 7-5 5-7 6-2 victory.

– BBC/ Reuters

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