Iga Swiatek is back! The now-world No. 2 captured the China Open WTA 1000 event in Beijing with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Liudmila Samsonova. Swiatek won 80% of her first serve points and was a perfect 4/4 on break point opportunities in the match.
Following her victory, Swiatek shared that, “I’m very happy [to have won], for sure it was the last thing that I expected at the beginning of the tournament. The match, even though the scoreline suggests it was easy, wasn’t. It was intense, and I put a lot of pressure on myself.”
After a hot start to 2023, Swiatek had slowed her pace in recent weeks which saw her fail to reach the finals in Montreal, Cincinnati, New York, and Tokyo.
“I try to keep my expectations low for as long as possible, and focus on the work, because what I did after the US Open, digging deep into technique and working really hard, paid off. I’m trying to continue that for the rest of the season.”
The improvements were noticeable and Swiatek is now the first woman since Serena Williams to win five or more titles in back-to-back seasons on the WTA.
It was also a fantastic week for Samsonova, one of the fastest-rising stars on tour, to make yet another 1000-level final.
Canadian tennis fans saw her reach the final in Montreal this past summer. Samsonova took out 12th-seeded Petra Kvitova, 13th-seeded Jelena Ostapenko and fifth-seed Elena Rybakina en route to the championship match. It was an impressive fourth victory in as many matches for her against Rybakina. She’s up six spots in the rankings to No. 16 overall.
Rest of the Field
It was a more predictable draw in Beijing in terms of the top players advancing. Coco Gauff made it to the semifinals before experiencing her first loss since the quarter-finals in Montreal nearly two months ago. Since Wimbledon, the 19-year-old World No. 3 has gone an incredible 22-2 to truly position herself near the top of the women’s game.
In the semis, she was bested by Swiatek, a player who has a distinct advantage in their career head-to-head which now stands at 8-1 in favour of the Polish player.
Read also: Coco Gauff’s Dream Comes True at US Open
Gauff admitted to dealing with some physical issues in the match and when asked about the difference from the last time they faced each other, said that, “I think she played a little bit more aggressive or consistently aggressive compared to Cincinnati. I think Cincinnati I got a little bit more errors than today.”
The big hitters were rewarded all week with the likes of Aryna Sabalenka, Caroline Garcia, Maria Sakkari, Elena Rybakina and Jelena Ostapenko all making it to the final eight.
Read also: Maria Sakkari Bounces Back in Guadalajara
Speaking of final eight, the field is already set for the GNP Seguros WTA Finals happening at the end of this month in Cancun with as deep a pool of candidates as we’ve seen in many years. The list of players is as follows:
- Aryna Sabalenka
- Iga Swiatek
- Coco Gauff
- Elena Rybakina
- Jessica Pegula
- Marketa Vondrousova
- Karolina Muchova
- Ons Jabeur
It wasn’t the best of weeks for Canadians in Beijing as Leylah Annie Fernandez failed to advance past qualifying where she was taken out by Eva Lys in straight sets. Fernandez has already atoned for that result in Hong Kong, where she defeated top seed Victoria Azarenka in the opening round to kick start this week.
Canadian tennis fans will hope that Fernandez rounds into form in time for the upcoming Billie Jean King Cup tie in Seville in early November. Fernandez will be heavily leaned-on to lead Team Canada against Spain and Poland in their round-robin grouping.
Rebecca Marino, who is also on the BJK Cup squad, similarly lost in the first round of qualies where she was defeated by Lucia Bronzetti, 6-4, 1-6, 6-2.
In the doubles final, the tandem of Marie Bouzkova and Sara Sorribes Tormo came out on top with a 3-6, 6-0, 10-4 win against Hao-Ching Chan and Giuliana Olmos. Bouzkova and Sorribes Tormo were unseeded and captured the first WTA 1000 title of their careers as partners. It’s the second title they’ve achieved together.
Meanwhile, the tandem of Canadian Gaby Dabrowski and Kiwi Erin Routliffe finally cooled off as they fell in the round of sixteen to Peyton Stearns and Magda Linette.
There is still hope for them to qualify for the WTA Finals which would be quite remarkable given they only began playing together earlier in the summer in Montreal. Currently, they are tenth in the WTA race, but within striking distance of the top eight.
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