Grand Slam star Iga Swiatek clearly looked the part as the world’s best player on the women’s tour. The top seed from Poland yesterday crushed American Jessica Pegula in straight sets to lift her second Falcon Trophy after a fast-paced final at the Qatar TotalEnergies Open.
Swiatek won 6-3, 6-0 in 69 minutes to join a group of four players who have emerged champions in Doha on two occasions each.
The 21-year-old from Warsaw now joins two-time champions Russia’s Anastasia Myskina (2003 and 2004), Maria Sharapova of Russia (2005 and 2008), Victoria Azarenka of Belarus (2012 and 2013) and Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic (2018 and 2021).
Swiatek’s slog in Doha this week was worth $120,150 and 470 points whereas Pegula got richer by $74,161 and secured 305 points.
It was Swiatek’s 12th career title win and fifth over Pegula in seven career meetings. It was Swiatek’s ninth win of the 2023 season.
Swiatek was on court for just 2 hours and 58 minutes during the six-day tournament while Pegula spent 6 hours and 25 minutes.
Swiatek received the Falcon Trophy from Qatar Tennis Federation president Nasser al-Khelaifi.
“I don’t care how many games are won or lost. I just feel like I really found my rhythm here,” Swiatek said after the match. “And after a tough beginning of the season, I have stayed focused from the beginning until the end of the matches,” she added.
“I am pretty happy with my performance. I want to congratulate Jessica for everything – she won the doubles here. You’re a really consistent player and your work ethic is great. Everything you represent is pretty great. So congrats for that and to your coach as well,” Swiatek said.
“I want to also thank my team, my coach who’s at home and my dad and my sister as well, everybody who’s supporting me every day. These are the people that are really with me in good times and in bad times. I am really grateful for that. Without them, I wouldn’t be I wouldn’t be here.
“I want to thank all the sponsors and volunteers that made this tournament a success story. It’s really a great event and I always enjoy coming back here. I hope playing well here is going to become a routine or something. And thank you to the fans for coming even though the conditions were tough,” the Polish star said.
Pegula said: “It’s been an awesome week. A lot of great results and I’m just really happy with all the work I got to put in this week and it came up a little bit short today, but I can still be very proud of what I’ve done.”
She added: “One team member – thanks to my coach David Witt, for supporting me the whole week and through the great results that we’ve had this year so far. Congrats to Iga and her team for just everything that you’re doing, playing great for defending your title here. You played great so congratulations.”
Swiatek hit the ground running with her serve in game one. The 21-year-old produced a forehand and then served a powerful ace. That was followed by an unforced error by Pegula which gave Swiatek a 1-0 lead.
Three deuce exchanges stretched game two but a couple of long returns from Pegula helped Swiatek to break her opponent for a 2-0 lead.
In game three, Swiatek fired two long returns to see Pegula break the defending champion. Pegula held serve for the time in game four when a wayward Swiatek fired four successive long returns.
Swiatek, however, pulled things back when she easily held serve in game five for a 3-2 lead.
Pegula was guilty of a double fault at deuce and then fired a long return to see Swiatek break her American opponent in game six.
In game seven, Pegula rallied to break Swiatek after a superb backhand down the line and a long return by the defending champion.
At break point, Pegula produced a deft overhead lob to break Swiatek (3-4). Swiatek quickly broke Pegula in game eight to lead at 5-3 and then held serve to take the first set at 6-3 in 38 minutes.
Swiatek stunned Pegula with a service break in game one when two long returns by her rival gave the Polish a 1-0 cushion at the start of the second set. Swiatek served strong and raced to a 2-0 lead as Pegula’s game started to disintegrate.
At the end of eight games, Pegula had four double faults compared to none from Swiatek. With momentum on her side, Swiatek served a slick slice from the baseline to break Pegula for the second time in the second set and sit pretty with a 3-0 lead.
Minutes later, it was 6-0 as Swiatek won the second set without dropping a game.