Swiatek returns to Madrid Open final by beating Keys. Medvedev retires in quarterfinal with injury


MADRID — Iga Swiatek cruised to a straight-set win over Madison Keys to reach the Madrid Open final for the second consecutive year on Thursday, while Daniil Medvedev retired from his quarterfinal against Jiri Lehecka because of an injury.

Top-ranked Swiatek beat 20th-ranked Keys 6-1, 6-3 in the semifinals and will face second-ranked Aryna Sabalenka in a rematch of last year’s final. Sabalenka, the defending champion, defeated world No. 4 Elena Rybakina in three sets late Thursday.

The Madrid Open is the only high-profile European clay-court competition that Swiatek has yet to win.

“It was a pretty clean performance and really solid game from myself,” Swiatek said. “I’m happy with everything.”

It will be the third final of the year for Swiatek after titles in Indian Wells and Doha.

“I’m happy that we can play a final against the top players,” Swiatek said. “It shows consistency. For sure it’s going to be a challenge, whoever it’s going to be, and a tough match. I will be ready. I will focus on myself.”

Sabalenka, who needed three sets to defeat Swiatek in the Madrid final last year, rallied to beat Rybakina 1-6, 7-5, 7-6 (5). The win sent Sabalenka into her third Madrid final and ended Rybakina’s 16-match clay-court winning streak.

Keys said she was disappointed but there were “a lot of really great things to take from the tournament” in the Spanish capital.

“It’s been a while since I have won four matches in a row. Lots to build on. It’s obviously great momentum going into Rome next week,” she said. “It’s obviously only my fourth tournament back after the shoulder injury, so to do so well here and to be able to play some tough matches and have some three-set matches and be physically 100% still and being able to look forward to Rome and hopefully play some good tennis there is a huge positive.”

MEDVEDEV INJURED

Medvedev retired after losing the first set 6-4, sending the 31st-ranked Lehecka into a semifinal against 35th-ranked Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Medvedev, the No. 4 in the world, needed treatment on his upper right leg while leading 3-2, complaining about having trouble moving to his right. He also needed treatment at 4-3, and after Lehecka broke serve in the ninth game to win the set, Medvedev decided not to continue.

“It’s never easy in a match like this,” Lehecka said of Medvedev’s retirement. “If I were to choose the way how to win this match, it wouldn’t be like that. So of course, it’s never easy to see your opponent struggling, but at that moment, you just need to focus on yourself, trying to get the maximum level out of yourself.”

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AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis



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