World No.1 Iga Swiatek successfully defended her title at the Qatar TotalEnergies Open on Saturday, sweeping past fourth-ranked Jessica Pegula 6-3, 6-0 in the Doha final.
No.1 seed Swiatek topped No.2 seed Pegula to capture her first Hologic WTA Tour title of the year, and the 12th title of her career overall. Swiatek dropped only five games all week en route to the title.
"I'm really happy that I could kind of find more balance, comparing to how I felt at the beginning of the season," Swiatek said, after her win. "I think this tournament is going to give me a lot of confidence, but still, I want to take everything step by step. I'm just really happy that I could win this match today."
Fast facts: Swiatek had already lost to Pegula this year at United Cup, but the No.1 seed overwhelmingly avenged that defeat in the 1-hour and 9-minute Doha final. Swiatek now holds a 5-2 lead over Pegula in their head-to-head.
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For the second year in a row, Doha is the site of Swiatek’s first title of the season. Last year, her Doha title run was the start of something big -- a 37-match winning streak, culminating in her second Grand Slam title at Roland Garros.
Swiatek also becomes the first player to defend a Hologic WTA Tour singles title since she won her second straight Rome title in May of last year.
"Every game I was really focused, and that's the thing I'm most happy about, because at the beginning of the season I felt like my mind was kind of flying away sometimes," Swiatek said. "But here, the work we have put in with my coach on court and with Daria off the court, for sure, it just paid off, and I felt like everything is clicking."
reunited and it feels so good 🏆😊@iga_swiatek | #QatarTennis pic.twitter.com/totk0p9hCu— wta (@WTA) February 18, 2023
Match moments: Swiatek used heavy replies off of the Pegula service to go up a break at both 2-0 and 4-2, but Pegula immediately broke back each time, forcing Swiatek into errors by using her exceptional speed to extend rallies.
Nevertheless, the top seed again attacked the Pegula delivery with more thunderous returns to break for a 5-3 lead. This time, Swiatek would not be pulled back level, as she powered to a love hold to take the one-set lead.
After a close opening set, Swiatek had things almost entirely her own way in the second set. Swiatek won 73 percent of points returning Pegula's second service in the match, leading to six service breaks on the day.
"Yesterday it kind of hit me that even though it's windy, I can use the wind properly and kind of use my intuition to sometimes imagine that I should play shorter, or on the other hand, play with more topspin so the wind is going to kind of take this ball even further," Swiatek said.
"So today I just kind of continued that, but I didn't really want to overanalyze that, and I just kind of played how my intuition told me. It's nice, because usually I'm basing everything on my tactics and on the technique that I'm working on. But here I felt like I could just reset that and play more freely without overthinking."