Aryna Sabalenka might not be perfectly healthy against Iga Swiatek

Sabalenka will play Swiatek in the final of the Italian Open.
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The women's final of the Italian Open will feature the current No. 1 and No. 2 players on the WTA tour. Aryna Sabalenka is No. 2 and several thousand points shy of No. 1 Iga Swiatek. While winning in Rome would help Sabalenka in points, she also wants to make sure she is perfectly healthy for the French Open which begins on Sunday, May 26.

Sabalenka's current issue is that her back has been aching during her run in Rome. She played through pain while defeating Elina Svitolina in the fourth round and appeared to have less pain in her semifinal match against Danielle Collins. The Belarusian won the match with relative ease 7-5 6-2 which goes to show how well Sabalenka is playing right now. Collins has been sensational in 2024.

Of course, defeating Swiatek in any situation is difficult. She is 20-4 in career finals, plus she leads the head-to-head against Sabalenka 7-3. Sabalenka last defeated the Pole in the Madrid Masters in 2023. One might wonder if Sabalenka is better to pull out of the final in Rome to be better rested for the French Open.

Aryna Sabalenka's back might keep her from being in peak form against Iga Swiatek in Rome

In a post-match press conference during her run at the Italian Open, Sabalenka revealed she was close to pulling out in Rome already. She was not sure if her back issue would allow her to play or if playing would make the problem worse. After all, Sabalenka could conceivably earn 2,000 points by winning at Roland Garros. She won't reach Swiatek anytime soon, but she would get closer to No. 1 and further away from WTA No. 3 Coco Gauff.

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Sabalenka said in the press conference, "I was considering retiring from the tournament. Lucky me, I had an extra day. I was doing a lot of recovery. I’m doing everything myself to recover as fast as I can and to be ready for Paris. Right now I’m feeling great. I’m not in pain during the matches. Of course, if something going to happen in the match, I’m going to pull out because Paris is around the corner."

The key there is that Sabalenka said she is not in pain during matches. If she were to feel any pinch of pain early in the match against Swiatek there is a chance she could retire. Hopefully, though, tennis fans will see a great match between currently the best two players on the WTA tour.

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