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Iga Swiatek overwhelms Kontaveit to clinch Qatar Open title

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Doha, Feb 27 (IANS) World No 8 Iga Swiatek clinched the Qatar Open title after beating No 4 seed Anett Kontaveit in the final, here on Saturday.

In an overpowering display of all-court mastery, the No 7 seed from Poland took just over an hour to beat Kontaveit of Estonia 6-2, 6-0 at the WTA 1000 event. It was Swiatek’s first title of the season and ended St Petersburg champion Kontaveit’s nine-match winning streak.

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Swiatek famously triumphed at the clay-court Grand Slam event at Roland Garros in 2020 for her first career title, but she now has just as many hard-court titles as clay-court titles in her career, with two apiece.

The 20-year-old Pole continues to dominate in the finals once she gets to them. Since her only runner-up finish on tour, at Lugano in 2019, Swiatek has dropped a total of 11 games in the four finals she has won.

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Kontaveit came into the match having reached more finals and won more matches than anyone on tour since the start of 2021 – this was her ninth final during that stretch, and she has prevailed in 61 matches within that time frame.

But Swiatek refused to fall into any of Kontaveit’s traps on the day, winning a staggering 66 percent of points returning the Kontaveit serve and saving six of the seven break points she faced (six of which came in the first set), a wtatennis.com report said.

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Swiatek is now 3-2 against Kontaveit, and the Pole has won their last three meetings, including at Roland Garros and the US Open last season. Swiatek has now won three matches in a row against the Top 10 opposition this week, improving to 8-7 overall against that cohort.

After falling behind an early break to Swiatek, Kontaveit looked to be back in the hunt after she slammed a forehand winner down the line to break back for 2-2. Swiatek then quickly regained her break lead in the following game, then kept using aggressive returns to take control of many points from the outset. Serving for the set at 5-2, Swiatek calmly erased two break points before closing out the one-set lead.

There were almost no problems for Swiatek in the second set, which she raced through in less than half an hour. Kontaveit kept games close in the opening stages of the set, but there was no stopping the Swiatek power game as the Polish player continued her sterling form in the finals.

Swiatek has now racked up four WTA singles titles in her career, and it is her second WTA 1000 crown. Her previous WTA 1000 title came in Rome last year, where she dispatched Karolina Pliskova 6-0, 6-0 in the final.

–IANS

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