ROME (AP) — Two-time defending champion Iga Swiatek retired in the third set of her Italian Open quarterfinal against Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina because of a right thigh injury.
It was 2-2 in the third when the top-ranked Swiatek stopped after more than two hours of play. She won the first set 6-2 before Rybakina took the second set 7-6 (3).
The match started on Wednesday evening and ended early Thursday morning in extremely humid conditions.
The retirement ended Swiatek’s 14-match winning streak in Rome and raised questions over her status for the French Open, where the main draw starts May 28 and where the Polish player is the defending champion.
During the second-set tiebreaker, Swiatek grasped her right knee after shifting directions a few times behind the baseline. Close to tears, she took a medical timeout after the set and left the court. When she returned, her upper right thigh was bandaged. Then after four more games, she retired.
“I saw something happen in the tiebreak, on almost the last point but I didn’t know how serious it is,” Rybakina said. “The first two games she started really aggressive so I understood that she couldn’t really move that much.”
It’s the third time that the big-serving Rybakina has beaten Swiatek this year. That accounts for three of Swiatek’s six losses in 2023.
Rybakina’s semifinal opponent will be Jelena Ostapenko, who beat Paula Badosa 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 to reach her first semifinal on clay since winning the 2017 French Open.
The other semifinal will feature Veronika Kudermetova of Russia against Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine.
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