ROME (Reuters) – Iga Swiatek beat Aryna Sabalenka 6-2 6-3 to win her third Italian Open title on Saturday as the Pole came out on top once again in a battle between the top two in the women’s rankings following her Madrid Open triumph earlier this month.

The title was the 21st of Swiatek’s career as the world number one sounded out a warning to her rivals ahead of this month’s French Open where she is a three-time champion.

Swiatek broke Sabalenka twice in the first set where the Belarusian conceded 12 unforced errors in a lopsided start to the match. Sabalenka fought back, reaching five break points in a bid to lead 2-0 in the second, but Swiatek held her own serve.

Sabalenka failed to break again with Swiatek holding her nerve to save two break points on her next serve. The set progressed to 3-3 before the Pole broke again, in back-to-back games this time, ensuring her path to victory.

(Reporting by Chiranjit Ojha in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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