Doha, Feb 19 (IANS) World No.1 Poland’s Iga Swiatek successfully defended her title at the Qatar Open, with a dominant 6-3, 6-0 win over fourth-ranked American Jessica Pegula in the summit clash, here.
Swiatek had already lost to Pegula this year at United Cup, but the No.1 seed avenged that defeat in the 1-hour and 9-minute final on Saturday night to capture her first WTA Tour title of the year, and the 12th title of her career overall. She dropped only five games all week en route to the title.
“I’m really happy that I could kind of find more balance, compared to how I felt at the beginning of the season,” Swiatek was quoted as saying by WTA.
“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,” she added.
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 the Pole into errors by using her speed to extend rallies. But 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, according to WTA report.
After a close opening set, Swiatek had things almost entirely her own way in the second. She won 73 percent of points returning Pegula’s second service in the match, leading to six service breaks on the day.
Swiatek’s incredible 37-match winning streak last year, which culminated in her clinching her second Grand Slam singles title at Roland-Garros, began back in Doha. She will be hoping this provides similar momentum as she dives into the clay-court season ahead of the French Open.