That’s a wrap for Rome. In Sunday’s final, Iga Swiatek beat Ons Jabeur, 6-2 6-2, to win her FIFTH consecutive tournament and successfully defend her Rome title.
Rome is definitely on the bucket list and it looks like a gorgeous venue. A few moans though… I always think this tournament feels rushed. They have no contingency built into their tournament schedule. Thankfully the weather was glorious so no issues this year. Disappointed at the scheduling but what’s new? Some late finishes and the men always having more matches on Centrale. And the disparity in prize money between the men and the women 😔. Read on for the highlights and some positive points (!) from Rome…
Number one against number two in this year’s Race. 27 win streak against 11 win streak. Swiatek against Jabeur was a fitting finale for Rome. It turned out to be yet another dominant final performance from Swiatek. That’s now 16 consecutive sets won in finals with no more than four games dropped in any of them.
The stand-out for Swiatek for me is more than just forehands and backhands (which are bloody good!). It’s Swiatek’s unwavering focus when in the ascendancy. Swiatek had some close first sets in Rome that really could have gone either way. Once she won the first set, the second sets were completely one-way traffic. When Swiatek has a lead, she rarely relinquishes control and just goes from strength-to-strength.
There was actually a mini waver in the second set of the final. From 4-0 to 4-2 *0-40. At *4-2, Swiatek was challenged with a sudden Jabeur onslaught and she stood up to the challenge soo impressively. That ten minute spell in the second set was glorious. I think it was some of the most exciting tennis i’ve watched all year… but I wanted more!
I think Jabeur was running on fumes having played a heavy clay schedule with no rest between Madrid and Rome, and then having gone the distance in her last two matches in Rome. I would have loved to see a fully recharged Jabeur take on Swiatek although I doubt it would have made an impact on the outcome.
What more can I say about Iga that hasn’t already been said? Just a remarkable run, and head and shoulders above the rest of the field. I think that outpouring of emotion at the end was quite telling and showed she was clearly feeling it, despite what appeared on the surface as a pretty smooth run through the draw.
Best match 🎆
There wasn’t an obvious stand-out match. A shout-out to the first set of Halep-Collins (R2) which had a bit of everything. Collins was terrific. I’m going slightly with recency bias and picking Jabeur-Kasatkina (SF) as my favourite match which had some super moments in the topsy turvy to-and-fro third set. The score went Jabeur 4-2 to Kasatkina 5-4 to Jabeur 7-5. Kasatkina served for the match at *5-4 and was a whisker away from reaching the final. Jabeur saved a match point with a forehand winner that barely caught the line. Then Jabeur broke back with an audacious drop shot winner and finally won the match with another drop shot winner!
There was so much good stuff from Kasatkina in this match and all week. I’m not sure i’ve seen Kasatkina hit the ball so confidently for such large portions of matches. Dasha was really going after her forehand. The serve was ultimately the difference in the final few games. Kasatkina was barely rolling it into play. Winning all those matches seems to have given Ons the confidence in her game to go for the big shots when it really matters.
Best point 🎾
This was a truly sensational point.
Lovely moment at the end of the final.
Funny moment 🤣
I think Emma said what the f… in Italian 😂.
Super snap 📸
Gorgeous shot by Jimmie of Dasha.
Recommended media 📺
Recommended reading 📚
This was a great piece by Alex Macpherson on Yulia Putintseva.
Another pretty ropey week of predictions. I had Swiatek as champ but i’m sure most people did. Two out of eight for the quarters. I had Teichmann and Andreescu to the third round but otherwise it was a sea of red.
Final thoughts 🤔
Bianca Andreescu is getting better and better with every tournament she plays. Quarters this week in Rome and certainly on my radar for the French. Amanda Anisimova and Anhelina Kalinina too.
Garbiñe Muguruza is having a terrible season so far. From 6-3 5-3 up, Muguruza completely crumbled as she lost in three sets to Yulia Putintseva. Spoiler alert – I think this might be the first year in FOREVER that I don’t pick Muguruza to win the French.
Muguruza’s collapse was topped by Maria Sakkari who lost from 6-1 5-2 30-0 up against Ons Jabeur. Seriously gutted for Maria. That could be (hopefully not) a season defining result.
Anett Kontaveit (R2) and Paul Badosa (R3) both suffered early exits in Rome. Not full of confidence heading into the French.
Aryna Sabalenka finally beat Amanda Anisimova!!! The shine was somewhat taken off as 24 hours later, Sabalenka was taken apart by Swiatek.
I didn’t see that Rome run coming from Ons Jabeur. Very impressive. This could be an exciting few months for Ons.
Iga Swiatek is very good at tennis. Iga will be a hugeeee favourite for the French.