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Swiatek battles past Kerber as climate protesters invade courts

By AFP - May 14,2024 - Last updated at May 14,2024

ROME — Iga Swiatek saw off Angelique Kerber 7-5, 6-3 at the Rome Open on Monday to set up a quarter-final clash with Madison Keys, who beat Sorana Cirstea despite her match being interrupted by climate activists. World No.1 Swiatek is yet to drop a set and is favourite for a third Foro Italico crown before she begins her French Open title defence later this month.

The three-time Roland Garros champion arrived in the Italian capital off the back of a thrilling triumph in Madrid, her third WTA 1000 title of the season after also winning at Indian Wells and Doha. But the 22-year-old didn’t have it all her own way against former World No.1 Kerber, a three-time former Grand Slam champion who at 331st was the lowest-ranked player ever to reach the last 16 in this tournament. Swiatek battled to the first set in just under an hour and was frequently put to the test by 36-year-old German Kerber, who fell behind after saving five set points in game 10 and then succumbing two games later.

Kerber went two ahead in the second set but Swiatek fought back and after the Pole broke serve in game eight she held steady to close out the match.

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