Swiatek Culminates Dominant Week With Triumph In Doha

Iga Swiatek (photo: WTA video)

DOHA/WASHINGTON, February 26, 2022 (by Michael Dickens)

Iga Swiatek culminated a dominant week in the Persian Gulf with a 6-2, 6-0 victory over Anett Kontaveit to win the WTA 1000 Qatar TotalEngergies Open in Doha, Qatar Saturday evening. It was Swiatek’s first WTA title of the 2022 season and her fourth crown overall.

Over the duration of the 64-minute final between the seventh seed Swiatek of Poland and fourth seed Kontaveit from Estonia, Swiatek showed an aggressive mindset and won the last 10 games of the title match. She hit five aces, won 74 percent (34 of 44) of her first-serve points, converted six of 11 break points and saved six of seven break points she faced. Swiatek, who also won 64 percent (28 of 44) of her return points, outpointed Kontaveit 57-31.

“I’m pretty happy that I was composed and I stayed in the same shape I was for the whole tournament, because playing finals is a different feeling,” Swiatek said in her post-match press conference. “It’s always a little bit more stress.

“I knew that Anett is going to play well, because she’s shown consistency throughout the whole six months, I would say. I needed to put pressure on her, and I’m pretty happy that I did that well today.”

Indeed, Swiatek beat a very good player in Kontaveit, who arrived at the championship match having reach more finals (9) and won more matches (61) than any other player on tour since the beginning of the 2021 season. It was Swiatek’s third career win in five tries against Kontaveit.

For the first time in her career, the 20-year-old Swiatek beat three Top 10 players in a single tournament. First, she eliminated World No. 2 Aryna Sabelenka of Belarus, 6-2, 6-3, in the quarterfinal round. Next, she took out World No. 8 Maria Sakkari of Greece, 6-4, 6-3, in the semifinals. Finally, she beat World No. 6 Kontaveit in the final to garner her first WTA title of the season. It ended Kontaveit’s nine-match winning streak, which began during her title run at the St. Petersburg Ladies Open two weeks ago.

“Iga played a really, really good match,” Kontaveit said in press. “She put a lot of pressure on my serves. She was playing a really solid match. I think I was a little overwhelmed, maybe didn’t deal with my emotions as well as I would have liked. I mean, Iga was just great today.”

“Overall I’m very happy and feel like my game is moving in the right direction. I think the results have reflected that in the last few weeks. Very pleased with that,” Kontaveit said.

Now, Swiatek has accumulated quite a collection of trophies in her young career. She has won one Grand Slam (2020 French Open), two WTA 1000 titles (2021 Rome, 2022 Doha) and has won her last four finals in straight sets. Swiatek has lost a total of just two games in her two WTA 1000 finals and only 11 games in the four finals that she has triumphed.

Gauff and Pegula capture first doubles title as team

Unseeded Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula, both of the United States, won the Qatar doubles title with a 3-6, 7-5, 10-5 victory over No. 3 seeds Elise Mertens of Belgium and Veronika Kudermetova of Russia. The title match lasted an hour and 40 minutes.

In just their fourth event as a team, Gauff and Pegula won their first title together and beat three seeded teams. They ended the seven-match winning streak of Mertens and Kudermetova, who won the Dubai title a week ago.

“We’re super excited,” Pegula said. “I don’t think we were expecting to win the tournament, let alone a 1000. We said before, seriously, last week was the first match we won together. We have teamed up before but we’ve had some first-round exits.

“It’s good to kind of find our chemistry a little bit on court and get that going. That obviously paid off a lot this week.”

Said Gauff: “I always knew that we had the ability to be a good team. We both do well in singles, and both of us do well in doubles with other partners, so it was like, we have the tools. We just need to figure out how to use them.”