Iga Swiatek and Jessica Pegula will take each other on in the Qatar TotalEnergies Open title match-up on Saturday. On Friday, the two top seeds came through their respective semi-finals. In the first semi-final, Pegula, the second seed, defeated Maria Sakkari 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 in a minute shy of two hours to reach the last round.
This is the first finale of the 2023 season for the 28-year-old American. Entering into the match, the fifth-seeded Greek had carried a 4-2 win-to-loss record against Pegula. However, it was Pegula who dictated the momentum of the match.
Pegula won 75% points on return on Sakkari’s second serve in the first set. In the deciding set, she won 80% points on return on the world no. 7’s first serve and 75% points on return on her second serve. The only time Pegula’s game wobbled was in the middle of the second set when Sakkari effectuated a comeback from 2-4 down to win the set and level the match at a set apiece.
After her win, Pegula said, “That was probably the hardest conditions I’ve ever had to play in, wind-wise. I’m glad I didn’t get too frustrated. I think I played very smart”.
Qatar TotalEnergies Open: Iga Swiatek subdues opponents, one at a time
Meanwhile, windy conditions didn’t deter the world no.
1 and top-seeded Swiatek from romping Veronika Kudermetova 6-0, 6-1. The Pole completed the match in 56 minutes. This was the second straight match in Doha that Swiatek won by the same margin. Earlier, she opened the tournament with a win – bearing the same score-line – against Danielle Collins.
Swiatek won 82% of her first-serve and 90% of her second-serve points. She also won 60% points on return on the eighth seed’s first serve and 71% points on return on her second serve. As against Collins, Swiatek didn’t face any break points but converted five break points on Kudermetova’s serve.
The 21-year-old finished the match with 50 points to her opponent’s 17. The Qatar TotalEnergies Open title match will be the seventh time Iga Swiatek and Jessica Pegula will be playing each other. It will also be their second match-up this year after the United Cup. Swiatek holds a 4-2 lead against Pegula but the latter won their United Cup encounter in straight sets.
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