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ROME (AP) — Not since Serena Williams seven years ago has another woman had such a hot streak.

Top-ranked Iga Swiatek routed Aryna Sabalenka 6-2, 6-1 on Saturday to extend her winning streak to 27 matches and reach the Italian Open final.

Williams won the same number of consecutive matches over 2014 and 2015.

Aiming to defend her Rome title and win her fifth straight tournament, Swiatek dominated the eighth-ranked Sabalenka with a mix of power, consistency and finesse.

While she struggled with her serve at times, Swiatek was able to consistently crush both forehand and backhand winners on the slow, red clay court at the Foro Italico. The 20-year-old Polish player also hit a delicate backhand half-volley winner in the final game of the first set.

Swiatek had the same number of winners and unforced errors, 15, while Sabalenka produced just eight winners and had a whopping 31 unforced errors.

The hard-hitting Sabalenka took a medical timeout late in the second set and had her back treated.

Swiatek, who was a surprise champion at the French Open in 2020 when she was ranked No. 54, will be the favorite to add a second title at Roland Garros when the year’s second Grand Slam starts next weekend.

First, though, Swiatek will face either Ons Jabeur — who is on a 10-match winning streak — or Daria Kasatkina of Russia in Sunday’s final.

The men’s semifinals later featured Novak Djokovic against Casper Ruud and Alexander Zverev against Stefanos Tsitsipas.


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Why Canceled Recording Contracts Are Killing the Careers of Some ‘Voice’ Winners

Getty Season 6 Voice Winner Sundance Head and Associates

Remember Sundance Head, winner of “The Voice” season six? He won a recording contract along with that title, but it got canceled early, and he never got to produce his album with the studio. His coach, Blake Shelton lamented in Parade that Sundance Head is not the only one of his winners not to get an album released after the record company dropped the ball.

Adam Levine Rants About the Way Some Winners Are Treated

GettyAdam Levine Making a Point.

Former coach Adam Levine has experienced the same problem. He ranted at a “Voice” finale press conference that this type of disappointment occurs far too often: “We give these guys this incredible platform and this really rare thing, a lot of exposure and air time. Once we pass the torch, it is the record label that completely destroys that,” Parade reports.

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The Washington Post reports that Levine feels that “there appears to be no strategic career plan for what to do with the winner once they leave the show and head to a big-time label.” Levine does not blame NBC or “The Voice.” He blames the record companies that they work with. The Washington Post submits that in a Howard Stern radio interview, Levine was asked if the studios rush the artists into recording subpar albums. Levine retorted, “Most of them don’t even do that! You’d be shocked to see it. The show ends, and they’re like, ‘Okay, they don’t matter to me anymore.’ This is how they feel on the other end.” The Maroon 5 front man went on to say, “I don’t understand why they don’t care. That’s what drives me absolutely bonkers. And then it makes me feel defeated on my end because there’s really not much I can do.”

What’s Really Going on Here? View this post on Instagram

A post shared by NBC's The Voice (@nbcthevoice)

Previous “Voice” winners Alisan Porter and Javier Colon both thought they had it made after claiming their titles. Yet as The New York Post explains, “Each winner gets that chance through the recording contract with Universal Music Group, including Republic Records — major-label home of The Weeknd, Drake and Ariana Grande…But that ‘arranged marriage,’ as Colon describes it, has been problematic, stifling the careers of some ‘Voice’ winners before they’ve even had a chance to get started.”

While all “Voice” winners sign a recording contract, The Outsider reports that each one is unique to the artist: “every year, the winner signs a different contract with Universal. They get the record label, but their contract differs ‘based on their own circumstances and musical styles.’ Meaning, there’s no comprehensive set-up or specific timeline to dictate how each artist releases their music.”

In the case of Sundance Head, he told The Washington Post that he wishes he had read his recording contract more carefully before signing it. He recalled, “It’s as thick as a Bible, and you just want to get on TV. You don’t know what it says. They could take your firstborn kid, you don’t have any idea.” Although he did have an attorney and his manager go over the contract, things still ended up going south for the hopeful country star. Head and the executives at Republic Records could not agree on a single to release, nor a Nashville label. They ended up parting ways amicably, but Head was still disillusioned.

Considering the difficulties many of “The Voice” winners are experiencing with their recording contracts, it is not surprising that The New York Post claims “The Voice hasn’t produced a big star in its 10 years.”

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