World No 1 Iga Swiatek won her fourth consecutive WTA title this year as she swept aside Aryna Sabalenka 6-2, 6-2 to claim the Stuttgart final on Sunday.
The 20-year-old picked up her 23rd straight victory as she added Stuttgart to title wins in Doha, Indian Wells and Miami.
“It was a tough match, we fought for every game, hopefully there will be many more to come,” said Swiatek.
The Pole threw her racquet in the air with joy and held up four fingers for each of her titles in 2022 after breaking Sabalenka’s serve in the final game to convert her third championship point.
Her debut at the clay-court Stuttgart tournament culminated with a commanding performance as she needed just 85 minutes to dispatch Sabalenka, ranked fourth in the world.
Swiatek was the first Polish player to win a Grand Slam singles title at the 2020 French Open.
She now owns seven career titles.
Her tally of 23 straight victories sees Swiatek match Naomi Osaka’s winning streak from 2020-21 as she approaches Venus Williams’ record of 35 triumphs on the WTA tour.
Since losing her first WTA final as a 17-year-old in 2019, Swiatek has since won seven finals in a row.
She is also the first player to chalk up 30 match wins this season.
Alcaraz wins all-Spanish final
Carlos Alcaraz underlined his status as one of the most exciting young talents in men’s tennis by beating fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta to win the Barcelona Open.
Alcaraz defeated Carreno Busta 6-3, 6-2 to claim a fourth title of his career and third this year, with the 18-year-old emerging as a serious contender for the French Open next month.
After already winning on hard court in Miami and clay in Rio de Janeiro this season, Alcaraz saw off Carreno Busta in 65 minutes to complete an impressive week in Barcelona.
“It means a lot,” said Alcaraz. “I’ve watched this tournament since I was a kid. I always wished to play in this tournament and of course to be able to win this tournament.”
The World No 11 is set to rise to number nine on Monday, making him the youngest player to break into the top 10 since Rafael Nadal did it 17 years ago - who coincidentally achieved the mark after lifting his first Barcelona trophy.
“I’m really, really happy to be part of an (historic) Spanish list,” Alcaraz added.
Rublev denies Djokovic
World No 1 Novak Djokovic was denied his first title of the year, admitting he “ran out of gas” in a three sets defeat to Russia’s Andrey Rublev in the final of the Serbia Open.
Rublev won 6-2, 6-7(4), 6-0 against the top seed who had been looking to regain winning form before his French Open title defence next month.
The Belgrade event in his hometown was only Djokovic’s third of 2022 after he was deported from Melbourne - and denied the chance to defend his Australian Open title - after entering the country unvaccinated.
However, despite the 20-time Grand Slam winner being let down by his lack of physical form, he remains upbeat for his bid to capture a third French Open crown.
“Things are progressing slowly but surely, Paris is the big goal and hopefully by Paris I’ll be ready,” said the two-time Serbia Open winner.
“I have to look at the positives, playing the final in front of my home crowd, it was unfortunate that in the third set I ran out of gas and couldn’t deliver more of a fight.”