World No.1 Iga Swiatek successfully defended her Porsche Tennis Grand Prix title on Sunday, finishing up her week by defeating No.2 Aryna Sabalenka 6-3, 6-4.
In a rematch of last year’s final on the indoor clay of Stuttgart, Swiatek captured her 13th career singles title after the 1-hour, 50-minute hard-hitting battle.
"I wanted to win really, really hard, but I knew that I can't really focus on that and just I have to keep doing my job as I did on previous matches," Swiatek said afterward. "I'm pretty happy that I could kind of have good mentality and just focus on what I want to do tennis-wise."
Stuttgart streak continues: On Sunday, Swiatek maintained her undefeated career record at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix (8-0 in her two appearances) and improved to 13-3 in WTA singles finals overall. Swiatek now holds a 5-2 win-loss record against Sabalenka in their rivalry.
By winning her second singles trophy of the year, Swiatek tied Sabalenka and Belinda Bencic for the most titles won this season. Sunday’s victory was also Swiatek’s 20th match-win of the year.
Swiatek defended a title for the third time in her career, having previously done so at 2022 Rome and at Doha this year. Swiatek has pulled off two of the three title defenses on tour this season. The other was Tatjana Maria’s Bogota title defense from earlier this month.
1 vs. 2: The Stuttgart showdown marked the first time the world’s top two-ranked players met in a WTA singles final since No.2 Caroline Wozniacki beat No.1 Simona Halep for the 2018 Australian Open title.
It was also the first clay-court final between the world’s top two-ranked players in almost a decade -- the last one came at 2013 Roland Garros, where No.1 Serena Williams defeated No.2 Maria Sharapova for the title.
Sabalenka's consistency: Reigning Australian Open champion Sabalenka left Stuttgart with 23 match-wins this year, the most in 2023. Sabalenka will also retain her current position as No.1 in the Race to the WTA Finals.
However, Sabalenka is still seeking her first Stuttgart title, despite reaching the final in each of the past three years. Sabalenka was stopped by the World No.1 on all of those occasions, finishing runner-up to Ashleigh Barty in 2021 before her two losses to Swiatek.
Match moments: Power hitting was present from both players all match long on Sunday. Swiatek, though, used her superb defense to extend the eighth game of the match, and she was rewarded with the only break of the first set after she crushed a forehand return winner down the line.
After breaking in the opening game of the second set, Swiatek fell behind 0-30 in her next two service games. But the top seed pulled herself out of peril to eke out more close games, and she eventually wrapped up the match with a love service hold.
Swiatek erased the lone break point she faced in the match, and she won 14 of Sabalenka’s 22 second-service points on the day.
Doubles title defended: The Stuttgart doubles draw also ended with a successful title defense. No.2 seeds and last year's champions Desirae Krawczyk and Demi Schuurs beat No.3 seeds Nicole Melichar-Martinez and Giuliana Olmos 6-4, 6-1 in Sunday's final.
"In general, I think we play aggressive, we just like the [Stuttgart] courts," Schuurs said. "Before winning the title last year, I think I never won a match in Stuttgart! So I think Desirae’s playing very well, very aggressive, and then I can do my job at the net."
Krawczyk and Schuurs triumphed at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix last year for their first title as a pairing, and they picked up their second team title by dispatching Melichar-Martinez and Olmos in 64 minutes.
Krawczyk and Schuurs converted five of six break points in Sunday's final -- but they had to save a match point in the first round before making it all the way to the crown. Overall, it is Krawczyk's ninth WTA women's doubles title, and the 16th for Schuurs.