Three years after making the round of 16 as a qualifier, World No. 1 Iga Świątek recorded her 18th hardcourt victory in a row, defeating Australian qualifier Ajla Tomljanovic, 6-1, 6-2, in 64 minutes to kick off her campaign at the 2022 National Bank Open presented by Rogers.
Świątek, a two-time French Open champion who was on a 37-match winning streak across three surfaces at one point this year, will now face Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia, who defeated home favourite and No. 13 seed Leylah Fernandez, 7-6(4), 6-1, to close out the day session on Centre Court.
Looking to recapture her unbeatable form this week in Toronto, Świątek raced out of the gates in her second meeting with Tomljanovic, breaking the Australian twice en route to capturing the opening set in less than half an hour.
Świątek, buoyed by the support of the vocal Polish fans who turned out in droves, exchanged two breaks with Tomljanovic to start the second set. But the No. 1 seed quickly reeled off four games in a row, using her big serve and heavy forehand to move Tomljanovic from side-to-side and secure the victory with relative ease.
In a match between two of the last three lefties left in the draw, Haddad Maia converted her third break point in the fifth game of the first set to draw first blood against Fernandez.
The Canadian, who recorded her first main-draw win at the National Bank Open on Monday night, continued to stay within striking distance of Haddad Maia, saving a break point and breaking back when the Brazilian served for the set at 5-all. The pair then exchanged breaks to force a first-set tiebreak, where Haddad Maia recovered from an early minibreak deficit and never really looked back, taking the opening set after 64 minutes.
From there, Haddad Maia, who is now sitting at a career-high ranking of No. 24 in the world, showed glimpses of the same form that she displayed en route to winning her first two WTA titles in Nottingham and Birmingham this past June. She broke to take an early 2-0 lead, going on the offensive and forcing errors from Fernandez. After clinching a decisive break at 4-1, the Brazilian served the match out at love to set up an intriguing clash with the World No. 1.