The Insider Wrap is a recap of everything you need to know from the week that was. Last week, the Hologic WTA Tour returned to Beijing for the first time in four years, where Iga Swiatek won the China Open in her first appearance in the Chinese capital.
Performance of the Week: Iga Swiatek
With four Grand Slam titles and 75 weeks as the World No.1 on her resume, Swiatek has experienced success in nearly every occasion she has faced. But this was her tournament debut in Beijing, and she entered a venue new to her while still seeking her first WTA 1000 title of the year.
Swiatek's trip through the Beijing draw held numerous twists and turns. She had to oust compatriot Magda Linette in the Round of 16, which was the first all-Polish match at a WTA 1000 event since 2009.
In the quarterfinals, Swiatek was two points away from defeat against Caroline Garcia before she turned that match in her favor. Next, Swiatek had to avenge her first loss to Coco Gauff just to advance to the final.
💪🏼Keep going. Keep grinding. It never get easier, you just get better.— Iga Świątek (@iga_swiatek) October 8, 2023
💪🏼Rób dalej swoje, pracuj. Nic nie staje się prostsze, to ty stajesz się lepsza/-y.#thankyouteam #whataweek pic.twitter.com/5IOFBQoyHA
After all of that, Swiatek eased past Liudmila Samsonova to win her first WTA 1000 title since Rome in May of 2022. Swiatek's first appearance in Beijing ended fruitfully, with her tour-leading fifth title of 2023 and her 16th overall.
"I really just enjoyed playing here on this surface and on these stadiums," Swiatek said after the final. "Everything kind of worked. Sometimes I feel like that [like] at Roland Garros, that I really know this place, that everything is really nice and comfortable. Here I am for the first time, but I also felt that [here]."
Liudmila Samsonova: Just like she did last season, Samsonova has played some of her best tennis in the latter stages of the year. Samsonova beat Grand Slam champions Petra Kvitova, Jelena Ostapenko and Elena Rybakina to make the Beijing final, which was her second WTA 1000 final since August.
"I think I made a lot of good things this week," said Samsonova, who is now 4-0 against 2022 Wimbledon champion Rybakina. "For the week, it's something unbelievable. I didn't expect it, so great."
Coco Gauff: The Reigning US Open champion Gauff extended her winning streak to 16 straight matches, the longest this year, before she fell to Swiatek in the semifinals. Gauff became the first American teenager with a streak this long since Serena Williams in 1999.
Elena Rybakina: Rybakina is undefeated against current World No.1 players this year. After three wins against Swiatek while she was ranked No.1, Rybakina beat new No.1 Aryna Sabalenka in the Beijing quarterfinals. Rybakina is also unbeaten in WTA 1000 quarterfinals this year.
A mighty comeback to win the biggest doubles title of their career 🏆@MarieBouzkova & @sara_sorribes capture the @chinaopen title, defeating Chan/Olmos, 3-6, 6-0 [10-4] in Beijing!#ChinaOpen pic.twitter.com/aAsDNA15fh— wta (@WTA) October 8, 2023
Marie Bouzkova and Sara Sorribes Tormo: Bouzkova and Sorribes Tormo came back from a set down to edge Chan Hao-Ching and Giuliana Olmos for the Beijing doubles title. It is their second team title and their first WTA 1000 title.
Marketa Vondrousova, Ons Jabeur and Karolina Muchova: Tunisia's Jabeur and the Czech pair of Vondrousova and Muchova qualified for the WTA Finals, completing the eight-player singles field which will contest the year-end championship in Cancun.
Photo of the Week
Happy champ, happy fans: Iga Swiatek and the crowds were ecstatic at the end of the week.
5: By winning her fifth title of the year in Beijing, Swiatek is the first player to win five or more titles in back-to-back seasons since Serena Williams in 2014 and 2015.
6: Swiatek took home her sixth career WTA 1000 title, which is the most won by any player before the age of 23 (dating back to the start of the WTA 1000 tier in 2009). Swiatek surpassed Caroline Wozniacki, who won five WTA 1000 titles before the age of 23.
3 - Liudmila Samsonova is the third consecutive unseeded finalist at WTA 1000 events - a first since 2019, when Bianca Andreescu (Toronto), Svetlana Kuznetsova (Cincinnati) and Alison Riske-Amritraj (Wuhan) made respective finals. Runs.#ChinaOpen | @ChinaOpen @WTA @WTA_insider pic.twitter.com/WwuYGrE2hS— OptaAce (@OptaAce) October 7, 2023
243: Rybakina has served 243 aces at WTA 1000 events this year. Since the WTA 1000 tier was introduced in 2009, it is the most by a player in a calendar year, passing Karolina Pliskova's mark of 234 in 2019.
32: Samsonova hit 32 winners in her victory over Rybakina, which is the most a player has hit against Rybakina at any WTA 1000 event this year.
Highlights of the Week
Coco Gauff and Veronika Kudermetova were both on winning streaks coming into their Round of 16 match in Beijing, and the in-form players brought some of their top shots into the showdown:
A busy week is on tap, with three Hologic WTA Tour events running in Asia.
The WTA 500 Bank of Communications Zhengzhou Open in Zhengzhou, China features Top 10 players Maria Sakkari, Ons Jabeur and Caroline Garcia, as well as Grand Slam champion Barbora Krejcikova, Chinese No.1 Zheng Qinwen and Beijing finalist Liudmila Samsonova.
At the two WTA 250 events, World No.4 Jessica Pegula and Jelena Ostapenko lead the Hana Bank Korea Open in Seoul, while former World No.1 Victoria Azarenka and Beatriz Haddad Maia are the top seeds at the Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open.