PERTH, Australia — World No.1 Iga Swiatek enjoyed a victorious start to her 2024 season, defeating No.11 Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-2, 6-2 at the United Cup. Swiatek’s victory gave Poland an early 1-0 lead over Brazil in their opening tie in Group A. The victory extended Swiatek’s active win streak to 12 consecutive matches.

Hubert Hurkacz followed Swiatek with a comeback 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-3 victory over Thiago Seyboth Wild in two hours and 24 minutes. The victory gave Poland an unassailable 2-0 lead to clinch the tie. Swiatek and Hurkacz teamed up to give Poland a clean sweep, defeating Haddad Maia and Marcelo Melo 6-4, 6-3 in mixed doubles.

Seeded No.1, Poland moves to 1-0 in Group A. Brazil drops to 0-2 and is eliminated, having dropped its opening tie to Spain.

Saturday’s match was not only a rematch of last year’s French Open semifinal, but it also pit two extended winning streaks against each other. Swiatek and Haddad Maia finished their 2023 campaigns with unbeaten runs. Swiatek reeled off 11 consecutive wins to capture the China Open and WTA Finals to finish the year at No.1. Haddad Maia took the title at the WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai and extended her streak to seven after defeating Sara Sorribes Tormo on Day 1 at the United Cup.

In their third career meeting, Swiatek took control from the start and did not let up. Haddad Maia held serve to open the match before Swiatek ran off five consecutive games with her relentless baseline pressure and closed the set two games later.

Haddad Maia amplified her aggression in the second set and was rewarded by her first three break points of the match. But Swiatek dismissed them all with pinpoint serving to open a 4-1 lead. The Brazilian finally broke serve with a perfectly timed backhand winner to close the gap at 4-2. Swiatek responded by winning eight of the next 10 points to seal the victory after 1 hour and 18 minutes.

“I didn’t hesitate,” Swiatek said. “Even though it’s a quicker surface than what I practiced on, I didn’t slow my hand down. And also I was feeling pretty relaxed. I think the way we did this pre-season with more peace and more time actually for me to reset and sometimes even have a couple of days off between the training blocks, I think it just gave me a lot of peace.

“I was really focused during this pre-season. I hope I’m going to be more relaxed on court because of that at the beginning of the season.”

Swiatek finished the match with 21 winners while holding Haddad Maia to just seven. She improved her record to 2-1 over the Brazilian.

Poland will next face Spain in the final tie of Group A. Hurkacz, who won titles in Marseille and Shanghai in 2023, went 26-6 against players outside the Top 50 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings last season. He will look to remain unbeaten in the new season when he meets Alejandro Davidovich Fokina on Monday. Swiatek will take on Sara Sorribes Tormo.

Source: https://www.wtatennis.com/news/3842472/swiatek-wins-season-opener-to-help-poland-defeat-brazil-at-united-cup

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