World No.1 Iga Swiatek won the year’s first WTA 1000 title at the Qatar TotalEnergies Open on Saturday, and became the first player in nearly nine years to win a Hologic WTA Tour event three consecutive times.

Swiatek fought past World No.4 Elena Rybakina 7-6(8), 6-2 to notch her 12th straight win at the Doha event, battling back from a double-break down in the first set and saving a set point in the tiebreak. Swiatek claimed her 18th career singles title, and her first of the 2024 season.

“I’m happy that I kept working and just didn’t really think about too many stuff during this week and just focused on the right things, because I think it was the key,” Swiatek said, after hoisting her latest trophy. “Coming here and being kind of the double-defending champion wasn’t easy. So I’m happy that I have this experience already, and hopefully I’m going to use it.”

By the numbers: Before this week, the most recent player to win a WTA tournament three times in a row was longtime World No.1 Serena Williams, when the American claimed her third straight Miami Open title in 2015.

But the current World No.1 from Poland matched that feat with her three-peat in Doha. Swiatek now holds a 13-1 career win-loss record at the Qatar TotalEnergies Open; her only loss at this event was in the 2020 second round to Svetlana Kuznetsova.

On Saturday, squeaking out the 90-minute opening frame also kept Swiatek’s set-winning streak at the tournament alive. Swiatek has now won 23 sets in a row in Doha; her last set lost at the event was the second set of her 2022 opening-round clash against Viktorija Golubic.

Swiatek snapped a three-match losing streak to Rybakina on Saturday, defeating the Kazakh for just the second time in their five tour-level meetings.

Despite this loss, Rybakina exits Doha as the season leader in match-wins, with 15 so far. She has surpassed Jelena Ostapenko, who has won 14 matches in 2024. Rybakina and Ostapenko are the only players to have won multiple singles titles so far this year, with two apiece.

Tale of the match: In a grueling first set with gusty conditions, Rybakina broke Swiatek twice to lead 4-1, but the No.3 seed had to stop in the middle of that game for a medical time-out after she accidentally cut her leg with her racquet at the end of her service motion.

After that, Swiatek pulled back to level footing at 4-4, but Rybakina regrouped by breaking the top seed for 6-5, grabbing a chance to serve out the set. However, outstanding overheads by Swiatek helped her break Rybakina once more, sending the set into a tiebreak.

In the decisive breaker, heavy hitting by both led to an 8-8 deadlock, after three set points for Swiatek and one for Rybakina went begging. However, a rally backhand winner by Swiatek gave the World No.1 her fourth set point at 9-8, and that one was converted with a passing winner off the backhand side.

Swiatek had to save two break points in her first service game of the second set, but after getting out of that jam, she eased to victory. Swiatek finished the match with six more winners and four fewer unforced errors than Rybakina, and the top seed converted half of her ten break points.

Schuurs and Stefani win doubles: Earlier on Saturday, No.5 seeds Demi Schuurs of the Netherlands and Luisa Stefani of Brazil claimed the Qatar TotalEnergies Open doubles title with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over unseeded Americans Caroline Dolehide and Desirae Krawczyk.

In only their second event as a partnership, Schuurs and Stefani captured the WTA 1000 title in a 77-minute final, and improved their team record to 8-1 this year.

Earlier in the week, Schuurs and Stefani ousted No.1 seeds and reigning Australian Open champions Hsieh Su-wei and Elise Mertens in the quarterfinals. That avenged their sole team loss of the season, which came in the quarterfinals at this year’s first Grand Slam.

This is Schuurs’ 18th career WTA doubles title, and her fifth WTA 1000 crown (Schuurs’ first WTA 1000 title since 2020). Stefani is up to nine WTA doubles titles in her career, with three of those coming at WTA 1000 events.

Source: https://www.wtatennis.com/news/3899609/swiatek-defeats-rybakina-to-win-third-consecutive-doha-title

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