It was 2-2 in the third when the top-ranked Swiatek retired after more than two hours of play. She had won the first set 6-2, then Rybakina won the second set 7-6 (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 about her status for the upcoming 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.
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.
Iga Swiatek retires with injury in Italian Open quarterfinals