Roland Garros holder Iga Swiatek tightened up her clay game in preparation for her Grand Slam title defence by reaching the Rome Masters quarter-finals on Thursday.

The Polish 15th seed saved two match points and came from a set down to defeat Czech Barbora Krejcikova 3-6, 7-6(5), 7-5  after nearly three hours of battle.

Swiatek trailed a set and 2-0 after losing an opening set with a combined 45 unforced errors from the pair of opponents.

But the seed began to find her rhythm as she constructed her comeback and levelled the set after saving match points before taking the set into a winning tiebreaker.

Swiatek  secured a break in the final game of the match to take victory.

“I’m really happy I could win that,I could turn the score around,” the winner said. “Usually in this situation I was the kind of person giving up mentally. 

“Today, even though I wasn’t feeling completely perfect on court I could manage with everything and just win points.”

American Coco Gauff upset Madrid champion Aryna Sabalenka 7-5, 6-3 – ending a seven-match win streak – and will now test herself against top seed Ash Barty in the quarters.

Gauff, 17, will play her fourth quarter-final of the season after earning her second win over a Top 5 opponent after knocking out the WTA No. 4; she also beat Naomi Osaka at the 2020 Australian Open.

The 35th-ranked Gauff profitted on 36 unforced errors from her opponent, who also won the Stuttgart clay title in April.

Gauff could not have been more pleased with her competitive level:

“You know we’re going to bring everything we have from the beginning to the end,” she said.

“She brings the intensity on the court from the first point. I have to make sure that I manage that and bring even more intensity. 

“You feel it the whole match.”

Jessica Pegula of the US followed up on her defeat of Osaka this week by beating Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-2, 6-4, with Pegula going seven-for-seven on break point conversions.

2017 French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko beat three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 while Elina Svitolina put out former No. 1 Garbine Muguruza of Spain 6-4, 6-2.


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