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Feb 17, 2024 1:28 pm

Iga Swiatek captures third straight title in Doha

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World No. 1 Iga Swiatek recovered from a 4-1 deficit to defeat Elena Rybakina 7-6 (8), 6-2 and win her third straight Qatar TotalEnergies Open in Doha on Saturday.

She became the first woman since Serena Williams to go back-to-back-to-back at a single tournament. Williams did it from 2013-15 at the Miami Open. Swiatek is the only woman to win three straight Doha tournaments.

“You don’t even know hard it was not to think about it,” she said of the three-peat. “I came here, and I was pretty stressed because of that because I felt the expectations. I just wanted to do everything step by step as I always do. Again, it worked.”

Rybakina, ranked No. 4 in the world, jumped out to double-break lead. But serving in the sixth game of the set, she needed a medical timeout after cutting her leg with her racket on her service follow-through.

Swiatek, a 22-year-old from Poland, regrouped during the break and won the next three games to move the score to a 4-all tie. Serving at 5-5, however, Swiatek was broken again by Rybakina, from Kazakhstan.

But Rybakina couldn’t take advantage of the opening, with Swiatek breaking right back to send the match to a tiebreaker.

The unsteady serving continued there, with Swiatek winning points on Rybakina’s serve six times and losing five points on her own serve. Swiatek fought off one set point in the tiebreaker.

“It was really long,” Swiatek said of the 90-minute first set. “I wasn’t expecting that. It was really tough.”

In all, the players combined for eight service breaks in games. Swiatek won just 57 percent (36 of 63) of points on her first serve, with the 24-year-old Rybakina victorious on 62 percent (26 of 42).

For Swiatek, the win is the 18th of her still-young career and first on the season.

She now is 13-1 in her career at the tournament. Her only loss at this event was in the 2020 second round to Svetlana Kuznetsova. She has won 23 straight sets in Doha.

“I really enjoy being here. It feels like home. I always feel good energy before coming here,” Swiatek said.

–Field Level Media

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