SAN DIEGO, October 17, 2022 (by Richard Osborne)
Iga Swiatek is fast positioning herself alongside some of the greatest players this sport has ever known. The Pole, some 28 weeks into her reign at No. 1, is already the owner of three Grand Slam championships. And she continues to craft a historic season that has seen her win a tour-leading 64 matches and eight singles titles.All this by the age of 21. On Sunday, under mercifully sunny skies at Barnes Tennis Center, the top seed ended Croat qualifier Donna Vekic’s dream run with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-0 triumph in the San Diego Open WTA 500 final. It marked her second title in Southern California this year, having also prevailed in Indian Wells. The reigning US Open champ is 24-1 on American soil in 2022, her lone blemish a 6-3, 6-4 fourth-round loss to Madison Keys in Cincinnati.
8th title of 2022 🏆
64th win of 2022 🏁
24-1 in the US in 2022 💨
— wta (@WTA) October 17, 2022
WTA Finals in Fort Worth, captured the doubles title via thrilling 1-6, 7-5, 10-4 victory over Canada’s Gabriela Dabrowski and Mexico’s Giuliana Olmos. “I think the keys were being aggressive and letting the first set go,” said Gauff of the tandem’s turnaround. “The way they play can be very frustrating, and you can lose games really fast. We just needed to take our chances and take our risks.”“It was a really tight match. I think both of us, physically, we felt the intensity,” said Swiatek, who, after slamming the door with her 21st bagel set of the year, is 3-0 in head-to-heads with Vekic. “At the end, I wanted to really be the one who was going to play the last ball in. It happened a few times, and that gave me a lot of confidence.” Swiatek continues to bring her best when the trophy is on the line. She is now 11-2 in career finals. All the 77th-ranked Vekic did this week was navigate the qualifying draw, then stun three Top-20 opponents and a former No. 1 in Maria Sakkari, Karolina Pliskova, Aryna Sabalenka and Danielle Collins, the latter a two-day, rain-suspended epic that saw her erase a 2-4 third-set deficit. Only hours later, she would take the court again, her biggest challenge still ahead. Once beset by injuries, Vekic is again resembling the player who rose to a career-high No. 19 in 2019. After a remarkable week, she will return to the Top 50 in the WTA rankings on Monday. The American duo of Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff, having already qualified for the year-end