Swiatek holds off Rybakina to capture third straight Qatar Open crown

tennis17 February 2024 18:08| © Reuters
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Iga Swiatek © Gallo Images

Top seed Iga Swiatek overcame a gritty challenge by world No 4 Elena Rybakina to take home the Qatar Open title for the third straight year with a 7-6(8) 6-2 victory in Saturday's final.

The 22-year-old Pole, who raced to her 12th consecutive match win in Doha after beating Rybakina, became the first player to capture a singles title at an event in three successive years since Serena Williams triumphed in Miami from 2013-15.

The win also improved her head-to-head record over the Kazakh to 3-2, having lost on all three occasions last year.

Swiatek endured a slow start as she went 4-1 down in a roller-coaster opening set before slowly finding her groove to level things up at 4-4.

After the set went into a tiebreaker, the momentum swung back and forth before Swiatek wrapped up the 90-minute-long set with a well-executed backhand winner.

Rybakina had taken a medical timeout after hitting her own leg during the opening set and that seemed to hamper the Kazakh player as Swiatek wasted no time to take the second set and secure her first WTA 1000 title of the year.