Swiatek’s triple treat in Doha

WORLD number one Iga Swiatek has completed a three-peat of trophies at the Qatar Open on Saturday, adding the 2024 title to her 2022 and 2023 achievements. The 7-6 6-2 victory over the red-hot Elena Rybakina made it 12 consecutive victories at the Doha event, and moved her head-to-head against the Kazakh back to 2-3.

Incredibly it was her 18th WTA Tour singles career, and Swiatek became the first player in almost a decade to win an individual WTA Tour trophy three consecutive times. It was far from easy for the top sseded Pole though, going down a double break in the first set and having to save a set point before rallying back into contention.

Swiatek took the set in an epic tiebreaker 10-8 and then built on her momentum for the second half of that set to run away with the contest 6-2 in the second. The match, which lasted two hours and 19 minutes, was one of perseverance for the world number one, but she continued her remarkable strike rate at the event.

“I’m happy that I kept working and just didn’t really think about too many stuff during this week and just focused on the right things, because I think it was the key,” Swiatek said post-match. “Coming here and being kind of the double-defending champion wasn’t easy. So I’m happy that I have this experience already, and hopefully I’m going to use it.”

It was a remarkable match considering Rybakina raced out to a 4-1 lead with a double break, only for Swiatek to return serve with two breaks of her own at 4-4. The pair went toe-for-toe over the next few games, but a crucial break in the 11th game resulted in the world number three going 6-5 up. Despite that, Swiatek again found another wind, breaking back, and then went on with it in the tiebreaker taking the first set with her fourth set point.

Swiatek was rock solid on serve, winning 57 per cent of her first serve points off a 73 per cent clip, while Rybkina was superb off her first serve (62 per cent), but boasting a lower efficiency of 54 per cent meant she struggled off her second sere, winning just 36 per cent.

In taking out her third Doha title, Swiatek became the first player under 23 to win seven WTA 1000 trophies. Perhaps even more impressively is that she grabbed the seven titles from 22 WTA 1000 tournaments, and is well on her way to etching her name into more history books.

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