Iga Swiatek advances to Stuttgart final after three-hour thriller

Iga Swiatek of Poland celebrates after their victory in their semi-final match against Liudmila Samsonova (not pictured) during day six of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix Stuttgart 2022 at Porsche Arena on April 23, 2022 in Stuttgart, Germany. (Photo by Christian Kaspar-Bartke/Getty Images)

Iga Świątek will not be denied, battling past Ludmilla Samsonova 6-7(4), 6-4, 7-5 to clinch a spot in the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix final.

The grueling three-hour match snapped Świątek’s 28-set winning streak, with the Polish star dropping the opening frame before mounting a thrilling comeback to notch her 22nd straight win on tour. Samsonova overcame two breaks in the final set before the World No. 1 finally put the semifinal match away.

Świątek, 20, won more first-serve points by a narrow margin, 65 percent to Samsonova’s 58 percent. The advantage was critical for Świątek in the tight matchup.

Świątek will next meet No. 3 seed Aryna Sabalenka, who defeated No. 2 seed Paula Badosa 7-6(5), 6-4 on Saturday to punch her ticket to the final.

The victory is Sabalenka’s first against Badosa, her doubles partner and friend. She had lost to the Spaniard in their two previous meetings last year. Badosa, unable to serve out the first set at 5-3, left room for Sabalenka to claw back. The 23-year-old converted three of six break points — compared to Badosa’s two of eight — and finished with 33 total winners, overpowering Badosa from the baseline.

The Belarusian star returns to the Stuttgart final after finishing as the runner-up to Ashleigh Barty last season.