WTA

Swiatek crushes Pegula to seal Qatar Open title defence

By Sports Desk February 18, 2023

Iga Swiatek avenged an early-season loss to Jessica Pegula as she stormed to the Qatar Open title on Saturday, completing a stunning trophy defence.

In three matches, Swiatek surrendered only five games, sealing the title with a 6-3 6-0 victory over American Pegula.

A heavy defeat to Pegula in Sydney at the beginning of the year saw Swiatek reduced to tears, and she then lost in the fourth round of the Australian Open in Melbourne, albeit to eventual finalist Elena Rybakina.

Now Swiatek is back, with brutal wins over Danielle Collins and Veronika Kudermetova – allowing both players just one game each – preceding her dismissal of Pegula in the final.

The 21-year-old has 12 career titles and is off the mark in 2023, extending her head-to-head dominance to 5-2 over world number four Pegula.

Swiatek said: "I don't care how many games are won or lost. I just feel like I really found my rhythm here, and after a tough beginning of the season I could stay focused from the beginning to the end of the matches, and I'm pretty happy with my performance.

"I hope playing well here is going to be a routine."

The world number one sent a message of support during her on-court speech to the people of war-torn Ukraine, for whom she has helped to raise funds over the last 12 months.

Swiatek, from Poland, said she felt "a real throwback to last year", when this event was taking place as the Russian invasion of Ukraine began.

"This was the first tournament where I had a chance to make a speech when the war started in Ukraine," she said. "I feel like we all have pretty short memories, but we should all support Ukrainians with everything they're coping with every day.

"It's pretty disappointing the situation is not changing, but hopefully they will stay strong."

Related items

  • Retiring at Wimbledon or the Olympics would be fitting, says Murray Retiring at Wimbledon or the Olympics would be fitting, says Murray

    Andy Murray has said it would be fitting to call time on his glistening tennis career at Wimbledon or the Paris Olympics this year. 

    The 37-year-old has prevailed in both competitions during his professional career, becoming the first British winner of the men's singles title since Fred Perry in 1936 at Wimbledon in 2013.

    Murray also won gold on two occasions for Team GB in London 12 years ago and the Rio games in 2016. But when asked if he would compete in the US Open or the Davis Cup, he said: "I don’t think so.

    "Probably if I was going to finish my career I would rather finish at Wimbledon or an Olympic Games - to me that would probably be more fitting."

    "I've had amazing experiences and memories from Wimbledon, but also being part of British Olympics teams."

    The former world number one will take part in the Queen's Club Championships and faces Alexei Popyrin on Monday, but revealed that he will not be playing as much over the next few months. 

    He said: "My plans haven't really changed. I'm not planning to playing much past this summer. I'll see how I feel in the next couple of weeks. There are lots of things to factor in to retirement from sport.

    "I think in lots of careers, retirement is something you celebrate and people really look forward to that day – that's not something I feel. I love playing tennis.

    "Ultimately, if physically you're not able to play to the level you want to, the results are not as you wish, those things factor into the decision."

  • Boulter retains Nottingham Open title with comeback win over Pliskova Boulter retains Nottingham Open title with comeback win over Pliskova

    Katie Boulter successfully defended her Nottingham Open title on Sunday, coming from a set down to beat Karolina Pliskova 4-6 6-3 6-2 in the final.

    With both players having to play two matches in one day, Pliskova started strong, powering through the first set in just 39 minutes before the the physical toll started to kick in.

    Boulter found her second wave though, fighting back to force a decider in which she broke the Czech's serve three times to seal the victory.

    It was a long day for Boulter, who came out on top in an all-British semi-final earlier in the day against Emma Raducanu in three sets after their semi-final was suspended on Saturday due to bad weather.

    Raducanu won the first set after 80 minutes in a tie-break, but she could not pick up where she left off on Sunday, as Boulter came from behind to win 6-7 (13-15) 6-3 6-4.

    Meanwhile, Liudmila Samsonova won her first title of the season after also coming from a set down to defeat Bianca Andreescu 4-6 6-3 7-5 in the Libema Open final at 's-Hertogenbosch.

    Data Debrief: Boulter powers through marathon day

    Boulter and Pliskova had split their first four meetings, and all five of their matches have gone the distance to a decisive third set.

    The Briton won 77 per cent of her service games (10/13), while also winning 43 per cent of her return games (6/14), double the amount of Pliskova.

  • Draper claims first career title as Berrettini beaten in Stuttgart Draper claims first career title as Berrettini beaten in Stuttgart

    Jack Draper won his first ATP Tour title by fighting back to beat Matteo Berrettini in the BOSS Open final in Stuttgart, ahead of becoming British number one for the first time on Monday.

    Draper had already ensured he will become Britain's top player in the ATP rankings by reaching the showpiece match in Germany with back-to-back wins over Americans Francis Tiafoe and Brandon Nakashima.

    Former Wimbledon runner-up Berrettini took Sunday's opener in just 33 minutes, but Draper fought back in a near-hour-long second set as the momentum shifted.

    Draper failed to convert two set points at 5-4 and the first of two in the tiebreak, but he never looked back after levelling things up.

    A break in the seventh game was enough to take the decider as Draper triumphed 3-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-4, serving a huge ace – his 12th of the contest – on match point.

    Data Debrief: Draper follows in Murray's footsteps

    Draper will crack the world's top 30 after claiming his maiden title in his third ATP final, having previously lost to Adrian Mannarino at last year's Sofia Open and Jiri Lehecka at January's Adelaide Open.

    He will also become his country's top male player at the age of 22 years and 269 days, making him the youngest British number one since Andy Murray in November 2009.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.