World No.1 and defending champion Iga Swiatek returned to the final of the Qatar TotalEnergies Open with a commanding 6-0, 6-1 win over No.8 seed Veronika Kudermetova in Friday's semifinals.
Swiatek is through to her first final of 2023 as a result of the victory, and she'll bid for her 12th career title on Saturday against No.2 seed Jessica Pegula. Read on for more takeaways from Swiatek's statement win.
Swiatek stays dominant: Swiatek improved to 3-0 all-time against Kudermetova with a 56-minute victory in Doha. Swiatek has lost just eight games in six sets in the head-to-head, and also lost just one game in their third-round meeting in Indian Wells a year ago.
Swiatek coped with blustery conditions the better of the two players. She hit 14 winners to five unforced errors, breaking Kudermetova's serve five times. Kudermetova hit just four winners to 15 unforced errors, and never earned a break point.
"I was pretty worried about how I was going to compete with the conditions today, so I'm glad that I could play the smart way," Swiatek said in victory. "I'm pretty happy that I was so solid."
Swiatek has lost just two games in two completed matches in Doha. She beat 2022 Australian Open finalist Danielle Collins by an identical score to her win against Kudermetova in Round 2, and benefitted from a walkover from Belinda Bencic in the quarterfinals.
No.1 vs. No.2 up next: Swiatek will meet No.2 seed Pegula in Saturday's final after the top-ranked American edged Maria Sakkari in three sets in Friday's other semifinal.
Swiatek leads the pair's all-time head-to-head 4-2, but Pegula won their first meeting in 2023 last month at the United Cup.
"It always takes a lot to win against Jessie. She's a great player, a really solid one," Swiatek said. "We'll see, honestly. I'm not going to predict anything or over-analyze. I'm just going to go out and play my best tennis, and we'll see."
Hoping for a repeat: Swiatek is bidding to be the first player to defend a title on the Hologic WTA Tour in 2023. She, in fact, was the last player to complete the feat at last year's Internazional BNL d'Italia in Rome.