Iga Swiatek has again looked every inch the world No.1 as she extended her winning run to 21 matches with victory over US Open champion Emma Raducanu in the Stuttgart Open.
Swiatek, who’s taken over the top spot from retired Australian star Ash Barty, secured her place in the semi-finals with Friday’s 6-4 6-4 victory over Raducanu, who was playing in her first WTA event on clay.
The 19-year-old Briton was broken in the opening game of the match and Swiatek dropped just three points on serve to comfortably take the first set.
Raducanu was also broken in the first game of the second set but broke back immediately to love, only to drop serve in the next game before leaving the court for a medical time-out.
Swiatek held serve comfortably when play resumed but had to save two break points in both the eighth and 10th games to seal a hard-fought victory, having lost just three games in her previous six sets.
“I’m pretty happy that today’s match was longer because it’s going to give me a lot of experience,” the 20-year-old Pole said.
“Playing here is never routine because the surface is really tricky.”
Their tussle was much closer than their only previous encounter at any level, a 6-0, 6-1 win for Swiatek at 2018 Junior Wimbledon, but Raducanu’s lack of experience on clay still told against the former French Open champion.
Swiatek will face Liudmila Samsonova in the semi-finals after the Russian beat 2017 champion Laura Siegemund 7-5 6-3.
Spain’s Paula Badosa will climb to second in the world rankings on Monday following her quarter-final victory over Ons Jabeur, a win which sets up a semi-final clash with third seed Aryna Sabalenka.
Badosa outlasted Jabeur 7-6 (11-9) 1-6 6-3 to reach the last four after having lost in the quarter-finals at her last two tournaments in Miami and Charleston.
Sabalenka ended a seven-month wait for a tour semi-final since last year’s US Open, the Belarusian hitting 10 aces as she beat Anett Kontaveit 6-4 3-6 6-1.