World No.1 Swiatek retires injured at Italian Open
World No.1 Iga Swiatek has retired injured from her Italian Open quarter-final against Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina, casting concern over her looming French Open title defence.
It was 2-2 in the third set when two-time defending champion Swiatek retired due to a right thigh injury after more than two hours of play. She had won the first set 6-2 then Rybakina won the second set 7-6 (7-3).
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 raises questions over her status for the French Open, which starts in 10 days 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, accounting for three of the Pole's six losses in 2023.
Rybakina's semi-final opponent will be Jelena Ostapenko, who beat Paula Badosa 6-2 4-6 6-3 to reach her first semi-final on clay since winning the 2017 French Open.
The other semi-final will feature Veronika Kudermetova of Russia against Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine.