Iga Swiatek cruised into the Miami Open semifinals after easily overcoming Petra Kvitova in straight sets.
The soon-to-be world No. 1 beat the 28th seeded Czech 6-3, 6-3 for her 15th consecutive win and made her way into a tour-leading fifth semifinal of the season and third straight at the WTA 1000 level.
In the first meeting between the pair Swiatek’s return game once again became the Poles’ biggest asset against the baseline power of her Czech opponent.
Entering Miami, Swiatek led the WTA Tour in Return Points Won (50.9%) and Return Games Won (53.5%), and in Miami, she has broken her opponents in over 58% of her return games.
After a strong start to the match, just one poor service game from Kvitova gave Swiatek all the impetus she needed to take the opening set. Kvitova hit 11 winners to 7 unforced errors compared to Swiatek’s 6 winners and 3 unforced errors in the first set, but it was the second seed who converted the only break point of the set.
Serving at 2-3, Kvitova fell into a 15-40 hole and Swiatek immediately converted to break before rolling through her service games to take the set after 37 minutes.
As is the case in recent times, Swiatek continued to pressure her opponent’s serve through the second set. The Czech, playing her first WTA 1000 quarterfinal of the season and 33rd overall, saved four break points to hold 2-1. But Swiatek eventually broke through two games later, on her fifth break point of the set for a 3-2 lead.
A third and final break sealed the match after 1 hour and 17 minutes which gave the Pole her eighth consecutive win over left-handed opponents.
Both players finished the match with a positive differential, with Kvitova hitting 19 winners to 16 unforced errors and Swiatek hitting 8 winners to 7 unforced errors. But Swiatek’s ability to break proved the difference with Kvitova unable to generate any breakpoints in the match costing her a chance to make Miami Open Semifinals.
The 20-year-old joins Caroline Wozniacki, Victoria Azarenka, and Jelena Ostapenko as the only players to have made four or more WTA 1000 semifinals before their 21st birthdays.
She will face 16th seed Jessica Pegula for a spot in her third consecutive WTA 1000 final with a mouthwatering tie with Naomi Osaka still a possibility with the title on the line.