Iga Swiatek's superb form continued as she overcame another grand slam champion in the form of Bianca Andreescu to reach the last four of the Internazionali d'Italia.

Swiatek, who will be aiming to regain the French Open title she won in 2020 when she heads to Roland Garros later this month, has won 26 matches on the bounce after a 7-6 (7-2) 6-0 triumph over Andreescu, the 2019 US Open champion.

The 20-year-old Pole has now won all nine of her matches since she became world number one following Ash Barty's retirement in March. 

That makes her part of an exclusive club, with only Justine Henin (in 2004) and Victoria Azarenka (in 2012) having achieved that feat in the 21st century.

Swiatek's winning streak also matches Azarenka's 2012 sequence as the fifth-longest this century. Henin and the two Williams sisters are the only players to have won more consecutive matches since the start of 2000.

"Being in that kind of group is like a dream come true for me," said Swiatek, who has won 38 of her past 39 sets since her fourth-round match at the Indian Wells Open.

"I wouldn't think of that when I was younger. I'm pretty happy that I could do that because consistency was the thing I really wanted to work on last year. This year I feel like it clicked."

The only player to have beaten Swiatek in a tour-level quarter-final to date is Maria Sakkari, at Roland Garros last year, but the Greek saw victory slip from her grasp against Ons Jabeur.

Sakkari led 6-1 5-2 against the Tunisian, yet Jabeur rallied remarkably to claim a first career win against a top-five opponent on clay, prevailing 1-6 7-5 6-1.

After winning the Madrid Open last week, Jabeur has now won 10 straight matches, while she has claimed 16 victories on clay in 2022, leading the way on the WTA Tour.

While Jabeur will face world number 23 Daria Kasatkina, whose opponent Jil Teichmann retired when 6-4 3-2 down, Swiatek will go up against third seed Aryna Sabalenka.

Amanda Anisimova had not lost to Sabalenka in four previous meetings over the past three years, but her luck ran out as she went down 4-6 6-3 6-2.

World number one Iga Swiatek beat Victoria Azarenka 6-4 6-1 to progress to the quarter-finals of the Internazionali d'Italia in Rome on Thursday. 

Swiatek, who became the first female player to win 25 consecutive matches since Serena Williams in 2015, will face Bianca Andreescu in the last eight after she eased past Petra Martic 6-4 6-4.

"I didn't start well, and everybody could see that," Swiatek told reporters. "I'm really happy with the way I reacted and how I improved in the first set.

"Also how different the second set looked to the first one because I could really reset and really change the way I played. That's the most positive thing for me."

There was a shock in the final game of the day, though, as Daria Kasatkina dumped out number two seed Paula Badosa 6-4 6-4. 

Third seed Aryna Sabalenka sealed a third straight win over Jessica Pegula, easing to a 6-1 6-4 victory, while fourth seed Maria Sakkari defeated Coco Gauff 6-4 7-5.

Seventh seed Danielle Collins was knocked out by unseeded compatriot Amanda Anisimova, the 20-year-old cruising past the Australian Open finalist 6-2 6-2.

There were also victories for Jil Teichmann, who overcame Elena Rybakina 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 7-5, and ninth seed Ons Jabeur, who beat Yulia Putintseva 6-3 6-2.

Naomi Osaka has told Kyrie Irving there is "always room" after the NBA star asked if "hoopers" were welcome in her new agency.

The four-time grand slam winner – who withdrew from the Internazionali d'Italia this week due to an Achilles injury she suffered at the Madrid Open – announced on Wednesday she was leaving IMG to start her own agency, Evolve, with long-time agent Stuart Duguid.

Duguid told Reuters the venture will be a "small boutique and bespoke agency" that will only welcome athletes "who transcend their sports; or those with the potential to do so".

Irving is one of the leading players in the NBA, and the Brooklyn Nets star hinted at his interest on Twitter, messaging Osaka on Wednesday to ask: "yall got room over at your agency for hoopers. Just inquiring" with an emoji of two champagne flutes clinking together.

Osaka replied on Thursday simply saying: "always room" with the same champagne emoji as well as one of a basketball.

The 24-year-old said on Wednesday that the move was to make the "next step" in her journey "as an athlete and a businesswoman", telling Sportico: "I've spent my career doing things my way, even when people told me that it wasn't what was expected or traditional.

"Evolve is the natural next step in my journey as both an athlete and businesswoman, as well as a way to continue being myself and doing things my way."

Iga Swiatek and Paula Badosa progressed to the third round of the Internazionali d'Italia with ease as the former continued her impressive winning run on Wednesday.

Top seed Switaek, seeking a fifth consecutive title, breezed past Elena-Gabriela Ruse 6-3 6-0 as she became the first female player to win 24 consecutive matches since Serena Williams in 2015.

Badosa followed suit by dispatching Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2 6-1 in just an hour and 17 minutes, teeing up a third-round clash with Daria Kasatkina, who beat Leylah Fernandez 4-6 6-3 7-6 (7-2).

Aryna Sabalenka, the third favourite in Italy, also made light work of Zhang Shuai to triumph 6-2 6-0, while fourth seed Maria Sakkari cruised past Madrid Open semi-finalist Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-3 6-2.

Sakkari will next face a Rome rematch with Coco Gauff, who defeated compatriot Madison Brengle 6-2 6-4. Teenager Gauff's sole win against Sakkari came at this tournament in the second round last year.

Yulia Putintseva came from behind to beat Garbine Muguruza 3-7 7-6 (7-4) 6-1, and will next meet Ons Jabeur, who made it eight successive main-draw wins by defeating Ajla Tomljanovic 7-5 6-2.

Seventh seed Danielle Collins also battled past former world number one Simona Halep 7-6 (7-1) 6-3.

There was no such joy for fifth seed Anett Kontaveit as she crashed out to Petra Martic in straight sets, while Jil Teichmann upset former Rome champion Karolina Pliskova in a three-set thriller.

Belinda Bencic, who was ranked as 12th seed, was another early casualty as she fell to a 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 defeat against American Amanda Anisimova.

Meanwhile, Jessica Pegula secured her third-round spot after Anhelina Kalinina withdrew due to injury, with Victoria Azarenka earning a straightforward 6-2 6-4 victory over Camila Osorio to get a shot at favourite Swiatek in the next round.

Emma Raducanu retired from her first-round match with Bianca Andreescu at the Internazionali d'Italia because of a lower back injury.

The world number 12 was trailing 6-2 2-1 when calling time on the match against Andreescu in a highly anticipated showdown between two of the past three US Open winners.

Raducanu initially left the court for treatment ahead of the seventh game of the opening set for a medical timeout and completed just four more games.

Speaking after her withdrawal, coming two weeks before the French Open, Raducanu explained she did not want to aggravate an injury sustained at last week's Madrid Open.

"I thought maybe taking one, two days off, it would go away because a lot of the other small niggles I've had, they've kind of gone away after taking, like, two days off," she said.

"Then I got here and I was training, but it just didn't seem to get better. I was training with some limitations. I wasn't moving really.

"I was just playing where I knew where the ball was coming, just staying in one corner. I think I must have underestimated the unpredictability of competition in a match.

"The last few weeks have been really positive. I've learned a lot about myself and my game has definitely improved on this surface but I need to make sure my back is fully right.

"I need to just keep on it. I don't want to play my next match with a feeling of limitation because I think that I learned my lesson from this week, when to push, when not to push." 

Ons Jabeur joined Andreescu in the last 32 with a 6-0 7-6 (7-1) victory over Sorana Cirstea to keep her impressive run of form going.

The Tunisian won her first WTA 1000 title in Madrid last week and has now won seven successive main draw matches for the first time in her career

Elsewhere in Tuesday's action, American qualifier Lauren Davis pulled off a shock 6-2 6-3 win against number 11 seed Jelena Ostapenko.

Fellow Americans Jessica Pegula, Madison Brengle and Amanda Anisimova also advanced, beating Liudmila Samsonova, Marta Kostyuk and Tereza Martincova respectively.

Anisimova, who is now the player with the most wins in three sets so far in 2022 with nine, will face Belinda Bencic for a place in the last 16.

Chris Evert announced she has completed a course of chemotherapy treatment after the American tennis great was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

The 67-year-old American, whose on-court battles with Martina Navratilova in the 1970s and 1980s provided one of the greatest tennis rivalries, won 18 grand slam singles titles.

Only Steffi Graf and Serena Williams have won more in the Open Era, with Evert finishing her career on the same number as Navratilova.

Evert revealed she had cancer ahead of the Australian Open in January, with it being discovered after a preventive hysterectomy.

She explained at the time it had been found at an early stage, saying she was "very lucky" in that respect. Evert's sister Jeanne died from ovarian cancer in February 2020.

In an update, Evert wrote on Twitter: "I'm a little out of it (meds) but nonetheless, thankful and relieved I finished my 6 chemo treatments."

She posted a video showing her bidding an emotional goodbye to oncology staff at Cleveland Clinic.

Fellow US tennis star Pam Shriver replied: "Happy tears in Los Angeles! Congratulations"

Former world number ones Simona Halep and Victoria Azarenka advanced to the second round of the Internazionali d'Italia on Monday, while Coco Gauff scored an impressive win over Angelique Kerber. 

Halep was a 6-4 6-4 winner against Alize Cornet, who defeated her in the fourth round of the Australian Open in January, and will face seventh seed Danielle Collins next. 

It was only the Romanian's second win in her six matches against Cornet, though she needed two chances to serve out both sets. 

Azarenka needed just 68 minutes to see of Viktorija Golubic, dropping just five points behind her first serve and winning 12 out of 14 from the final three games to complete a 6-3 6-0 triumph. 

It only took Gauff two minutes more to see off the challenge of Kerber, who has now won just two of her eight matches on the WTA Tour this year.

Leylah Fernandez came from behind to claim an impressive 1-6 6-2 6-2 victory over 16th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, while Madison Keys went down 6-4 6-4 to Anhelina Kalinina. 

Aliaksandra Sasnovich's 3-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 win over Veronika Kudermetova secured her a second-round match against second seed Paula Badosa. 

Belinda Bencic overcame Elisabetta Cocciaretto 6-4 6-2, Shuai Zhang set up a match with Aryna Sabalenka by beating Martina Trevisan 6-4 6-2, and Petra Martic will face Anett Kontaveit after besting Karolina Muchova 6-2 3-6 6-1. 

There were also wins for Daria Kasatkina and Yulia Putintseva before rain interrupted Ajla Tomljanovic's match against Camila Giorgi when the Australian was 6-3 4-2 up.

Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the Internazionali d'Italia due to an Achilles injury she suffered at the Madrid Open.

The four-time grand slam winner was beaten 6-3 6-1 in the second round in Madrid by Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo last week, who she was due to face again in Rome.

Osaka looked uncomfortable throughout in the Spanish capital and appeared to struggle with the injury during a disappointing second-set display.

Her place in the first round will be taken by lucky loser Nuria Parrizas Diaz, who will now face Sorribes Tormo.

"Unfortunately I’m going to have to withdraw from Rome as the injury which I picked up last week in Madrid hasn't healed yet," Osaka said in a statement on the WTA's website. "It's an Achilles injury so I need to be careful especially in advance of Roland Garros.

"I love this city and always enjoy playing in front of the Italian fans so I will be sorry to miss them – but look forward to coming back next year."

The WTA confirmed on Monday that Clara Tauson of Denmark has also withdrawn from the tournament with a back injury, and will be replaced by Madison Brengle as a lucky loser.

Emma Raducanu says being a "loner" has helped her to discover a lot about herself after the US Open champion split with coach Torben Beltz last month.

The 19-year-old employed Beltz last November, but the German was only in her corner for five months.

Raducanu had turned to Beltz after splitting with Andrew Richardson, who helped her sensationally win a maiden grand slam at Flushing Meadows last year, and was previously coached by Nigel Sears.

The teenager says she is happy to go it alone as she prepares to face Bianca Andreescu in the first round of the Internazionali d'Italia.

She told reporters in Rome: "I'd describe myself as a loner.

"For the past year... I've had a lot of people around me a lot and very often. To be on my own is interesting because I'm kind of finding out a lot about myself, understanding what I need and what I don't need."

Raducanu was beaten by Anhelina Kalinina in the third round of the Madrid Open last week after being knocked out by number one Iga Swiatek at the quarter-final stage in Stuttgart.

The world number 12 is pleased with the progress she is making on clay.

"Clay is very new to me," she added. "I definitely feel like I have been progressing with each week, improving, getting a better understanding of how to play points, when to stay in the point or when to stay aggressive.

"I don't think I'm like the finished product at all. But, yeah, I'm heading in a good direction."

Emma Raducanu is "managing" a back problem ahead of her first-round Internazionali d'Italia clash with Bianca Andreescu.

The reigning US Open champion exited the Madrid Open at the last-16 stage, going down in three sets to Anhelina Kalinina after struggling with an injury which she admitted had been "taking its toll".

Raducanu said in the aftermath of that 6-2 2-6 6-4 defeat that she would only have given herself a "five per cent chance" of advancing after suffering the injury, and expressed doubt over her ability to compete in Rome.

However, the 19-year-old now insists she will be able to cope on the clay in Italy, saying she needs to adapt to the intensity of top-level matches after suffering from several injury problems this year.

"I think it's just coming from a lot of intensity and overload" Raducanu said. "My back, I'm managing it.

"It's fine. But it's just trying to adapt again to the long matches, to the intensity. I think that all of the small sort of niggles I'm getting, they're all related and connected to each other, when something is overcompensating perhaps."

Raducanu's first assignment in Rome will see her face Canadian Andreescu, who also won the US Open as a teenager when she shocked Serena Williams with a straight-sets final victory in 2019.

That contest will mark the first head-to-head meeting between the two players, and Raducanu was looking forward to facing the former world number four as she highlighted the contrast between conditions in Rome and Madrid.

"Of course, we are both pretty good players," Raducanu said. "It's going to be a good match-up. She's a great athlete and obviously a champion. She's got a really good attitude. I think it's going to be interesting.

"I think here is completely opposite [to Madrid]. It's quite heavy and slow, so there's going to be a lot longer points. It will be interesting to see what the differences are. But I can already feel them on the court tennis-wise."

Ons Jabeur became the first player representing an African country to land a WTA 1000 title as she fended off Jessica Pegula in the Madrid Open final.

The Tunisian beat her American opponent 7-5 0-6 6-2, regrouping well after a major dip in the second set to scoop the biggest title of her career.

The history-making victory means Jabeur will jump from 10th to seventh in the WTA rankings on Monday, matching a career high, and she earns €1,041,570 in prize money.

After losing to Belinda Bencic in the Charleston Open final last month, Jabeur's run on the Spanish clay shows she is becoming increasingly resilient, and comes as a timely boost ahead of the French Open getting under way in two weeks' time.

"We've lost a lot of finals, but today I'm happy I pulled out the win," Jabeur said at the end of the match, addressing her support team.

"It was very tough, especially last time in Charleston, so thank you guys for always believing in me and pushing me forward."

Jabeur came from 4-1 behind to take the opener, and she now holds a 17-0 match record when winning first sets this year.

Pegula broke in the fourth game, having fended off three break points in the opening game of the contest. Jabeur hit back and soon had the match back on serve, before saving a set point with a thumping backhand.

The 28-year-old Pegula, daughter of Buffalo Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula, has carved out a successful career at the top level in tennis, reaching back-to-back Australian Open quarter-finals this season and last.

She was in trouble when she lost her serve in the 11th game though, and Jabeur capitalised to snatch the opener.

Pegula made a flying start to the second set, establishing a swift double break, and a flat Jabeur found no way back. A drop shot into the net on set point summed up her drastic drop in level.

Jabeur stopped the rot by breaking serve at the start of the decider. Pegula immediately got back on level terms, but another break for Jabeur saw her pull away, on her way to victory in an hour and 54 minutes, a tour-leading 12th win of the season on clay.

The impressive Jabeur is also the first Arab winner of a tournament at this lofty level.

Ons Jabeur became the first player representing an African nation to reach the final of a WTA 1000 tournament as she set up a clash with Jessica Pegula at the Madrid Open.

Tunisian Jabeur, who beat Olympic gold medallist Belinda Bencic and two-time grand slam winner Simona Halep to reach the semi-finals, needed just an hour and one minute to secure a routine last-four win over Ekaterina Alexandrova.

The world number 10 dominated her Russian opponent in a 6-2 6-3 win, before setting her sights on victory in what will be her sixth career final on the WTA Tour but first at such a high tier.

"I'm going to put a positive here. I want to win this final," Jabeur said after her win. "I'm going to put my heart, my favourite drop shot, my forehand in.

"I'm just going to really give my best. I don't want to regret [anything]. The main important thing for me, I know it's winning the title, but [also] knowing that I gave it all during the match and not regretting that. I know if this one [title] is not coming, then there is another one.

"I keep pushing myself to do better. The proof is that from Charleston [where Jabeur lost the final to Bencic last month], I worked really hard to be in the finals here. Like I said, I'm going to leave my heart on the court on Saturday."

Jabeur will face American Pegula in Saturday's final after she registered a 6-3 6-4 triumph over Switzerland's Jil Teichmann.

The 12th seed was tested when Teichmann fought back from a break down to 4-4 in the second set, with 28-year-old Pegula managing to dig deep to break once more and reach what is also her first WTA 1000 final.

Saturday's contest will represent just the fourth final of Pegula's career, and the first since losing to compatriot Serena Williams in straight sets at the 2020 Auckland Open, but she will enter the top 10 of the WTA rankings with a win.

"I knew I was close to the top 10, but it's so hard, you have to step up and do really well to win a tournament," Pegula said on court.

"I'm just so happy to be in the final, it's my first final in a 1000. I've been knocking on the door in the last few tournaments, [but] I was able to take care of business today."

Jabeur and Pegula have met on four previous occasions with each player boasting two victories each, Jabeur winning their last meeting at the last-16 stage of this year's Dubai Tennis Championships.

Ons Jabeur produced a fine display as she made light work for Simona Halep to secure her place in the Madrid Open semi-finals.

Former world number one Halep was the only player to have won the competition to have reached the last eight, but she was no match for the Tunisian, who won 6-3 6-2 in just over an hour.

After a difficult start to the year, Jabeur has hit her stride in recent times and will be contesting a second semi-final in three tournaments.

While Jabeur caught the eye, particularly with her penchant for a dropshot, Halep proved to be her own worst enemy, recording 12 more unforced errors (20) than winners (eight).

Up next for Jabeur is qualifier Ekaterina Alexandrova, who beat 2019 French Open semi-finalist Amanda Anisimova 6-4 6-3 to reach her first WTA 1000 last-four clash.

Alexandrova has won six of her previous seven meetings with Jabeur.

Meanwhile, Anhelina Kalinina saw her impressive run ended by Jil Teichmann. The Ukrainian had seen off three major winners on the bounce in Sloane Stephens, Garbine Muguruza and Emma Raducanu, but she was beaten in straight sets this time.

Teichmann – who won 6-3 6-4 – will face Jessica Pegula for a place in the final, with the American eliminating Spain's final hope of a home winner in Sara Sorribes Tormo, 6-4 6-2.

Emma Raducanu became the third successive major winner to lose to Anhelina Kalinina as the Ukrainian reached her maiden WTA 1000 quarter-final at the Madrid Open.

Ninth-seed Raducanu was the biggest name in action on Tuesday and had been hoping to rack up three successive WTA Tour victories for the first time since her incredible US Open success in September last year.

But Kalinina, who saw off Sloane Stephens and Garbine Muguruza in her two previous matches, got the better of the Brit in an entertaining 6-2 2-6 6-4 win.

Raducanu had not dropped a set in either of her first two outings in Madrid but Kalinina quickly put an end to that.

While the teenager responded well in the second, getting an important break to make it 3-1, Kalinina rallied again in what was a closer deciding set.

The pair traded breaks and then Kalinina got another to set her en route to victory at 5-4 – she had to save one more break point but did ultimately see off Raducanu to book a clash with Jil Teichmann in the last eight.

Teichmann beat Elena Rybakina earlier in the day, dispatching the 16th seed in impressively comfortable fashion as she won 6-3 6-1.

Progression from the last eight for Teichmann will see her reach the semi-final of a WTA 1000 event for the first time.

Sara Sorribes Tormo, the last Spaniard left in the draw, defeated Daria Kasatkina 6-4 1-6 6-3 in something of a rollercoaster ride to line up a quarter-final contest with 12th seed Jessica Pegula.

The American kept her focus despite opponent Bianca Andreescu needing a medical timeout and rain causing a 30-minute halt, eventually winning 7-5 6-1.

Ons Jabuer avenged her recent loss to Belinda Bencic with a win at the Madrid Open, while Coco Gauff is out after being beaten in straight sets in the round of 16 by Simona Halep on Monday.

Gauff joins other big names in exiting the WTA 1000 event, with Naomi Osaka, Garbine Muguruza, Danielle Collins, Paula Badosa and Maria Sakkari among those crashing out in the second round.

The number 14 seed did not put up much resistance against her Romanian opponent, with Halep winning 6-4 6-4 in just 77 minutes.

Gauff struggled on her own serve in particular, making six double faults and only winning 61.5 per cent of her first-serve points, compared to 83.8 from Halep on hers.

The former world number one and two-time Madrid champion will now face the only remaining top-eight seed in the tournament in the quarter-final, Jabeur, who defeated Bencic 6-2 3-6 6-2.

The Tunisian was out for revenge after losing to Bencic at the same stage last year, as well as in the Charleston Open final last month, and took it well as she sealed victory in just over two hours.

"I came here to take my revenge," Jabeur said after the win. "I wish I played like that in the final in Charleston, to be honest.

"Part of me is very proud of myself for coming today and getting the win. Belinda is such an amazing player and it's very tough to play against her. I'm very happy with the level I showed today, and hopefully this level will continue for the rest of the tournament."

Elsewhere, Victoria Azarenka is out after the number 15 seed was beaten 6-1 6-4 by Amanda Anisimova, who will now face Ekaterina Alexandrova in the last eight after she overcame Marie Bouzkova 6-7 (4-7) 6-0 7-5.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.