Emma Raducanu gave Iga Swiatek arguably her stiffest test this year as she fell to a 6-4 6-4 defeat to the world No 1 at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart on Friday.
Raducanu won back-to-back matches for the first time in six months to reach the quarter-finals in Germany but despite falling to defeat against the Pole, the British No 1 will be encouraged by her display on the indoor clay this week.
The formidable Swiatek extended her winning streak to 21 matches and consecutive set streak to 28, although she dropped a total of eight games to Raducanu having lost just three in her previous six sets.
The result means Johanna Konta remains the last British woman to defeat a current world No 1, Konta beating Angelique Kerber at Eastbourne in 2017.
Playing in her first WTA event on clay, Raducanu lost her serve in the opening game of the match and Swiatek dropped just three points on serving to comfortably take the first set.
Raducanu was also broken in the first game of the second set but broke back immediately to love, only to drop serve in the next game before leaving the court for a medical time-out.
Swiatek held serve comfortably when play resumed but had to save two break points in both the eighth and 10th games to seal victory against the US Open champion.
Swiatek now has won her last 13 matches in straight sets. The last set she dropped came against Angelique Kerber in Indian Wells over a month ago
Swiatek has also won her last seven matches against Top 20 opposition
She is 4-0 against British players in her pro career
Having lost just three games in her previous six sets, Swiatek said during an on-court interview: “I’m pretty happy that today’s match was longer because it’s going to give me a lot of experience.
“Playing here is never routine because the surface is really tricky.”
The only previous meeting between Swiatek and Raducanu had come in the quarter-finals of the girls’ singles at Wimbledon in 2018In the other semi-final, fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta will face Argentine Diego Schwartzman after both won their respective double-headers on Friday. when Swiatek won 6-0 6-1.
British men’s number one Cameron Norrie was defeated 6-3 5-7 6-1 by Australia’s Alex de Minaur in the quarter-final of the Barcelona Open on Friday.
Rain on Thursday meant that all eight third-round matches, as well as the subsequent quarter-finals, had to be played on the same day and Norrie, who overcame Hungarian Márton Fucsovics 7-5 6-7 6-4 in the last 16, ultimately ran out of gas against his fresher opponent.
De Minaur was earlier beating Lloyd Harris 6-0 before the South African was forced to retire, while Norrie needed three hours and 25 minutes for his three-set epic against Fucsovics.
De Minaur, ranked 25th in the world, will now face Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz in the semi-finals after the 18-year-old thrilled the home crowd with a 6-4 5-7 6-2 win over No 1 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarters.
Alcaraz will become the 20th teenager to break into the world’s top 10 – and the first since Andy Murray in 2007 – when the rankings are updated on Monday.