Krejcikova books Swiatek final after Pegula bagelled again

By Sports Desk February 24, 2023

Barbora Krejcikova will play Iga Swiatek for the Dubai Tennis Championships title after settling a see-saw semi-final against Jessica Pegula in ruthless fashion.

Having seen Swiatek brush aside Coco Gauff in straight sets in the first match of the day, Krejcikova would have been confident of doing likewise after taking the opener against Pegula.

Third seed Pegula battled back to take the second set, though, and the American appeared to have momentum on her side, only to bow out in a one-sided decider, losing 6-1 5-7 6-0 for her first defeat to Krejcikova.

The pair's only prior meeting had been a straight-sets win for Pegula at the Australian Open earlier this year.

Pegula's sole other tournament since Melbourne had ended in similar circumstances to this one, with a 6-3 6-0 crushing at the hands of Swiatek in the final of last week's Qatar Open. The Pole is who Krejcikova must play next.

Krejcikova is the first player since Svetlana Kuznetsova in Cincinnati in 2019 to beat two top-three opponents at the same WTA 1000 tournament.

Yet after seeing off number two Aryna Sabalenka in the quarter-finals and number three Pegula in the semis, she faces the world number one in the final.

Swiatek has had a rather more straightforward path, granted a walkover in the last eight and then, on Friday, playing Gauff, who she continues to dominate.

The Pole is now 6-0 across her career against Gauff, winning all of those matches in straight sets.

Gauff at least made Swiatek work a little harder than she has in many recent matches, going down 6-4 6-2 – the first match since Melbourne in which the number one has not won a set either 6-0 or 6-1, piling up the 'bagels' and 'breadsticks'.

Swiatek is 2-1 against Krejcikova for her career, although the Czech won their most recent meeting and their only encounter in a final in Ostrava last year.

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