Iga Swiatek, Elena Rybakina to square off in final in Doha

League: Tennis

Posted on: 16 Feb, 2024 at 07:43 PM

Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

World No. 1 Iga Swiatek will seek her third consecutive title in the Qatar TotalEnergies Open in Doha on Saturday after advancing to the final following the withdrawal of Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic.

Swiatek, who entered play on Friday with 11 straight wins in Doha, moved to the final after Pliskova bowed out due to a lower back injury.

The 22-year-old native of Poland will face third-seeded Elena Rybakina in the final. Swiatek is bidding to become the first player on the WTA Tour to win a tournament three consecutive times since Serena Williams accomplished the feat at the Miami Open in 2013-15.

"I'm happy to be in another final here in Doha but I wish we could play tonight and entertain you guys. Hope you'll get well soon," Swiatek wrote on Twitter, addressing Pliskova. "Congrats to you and your team on your great two weeks."

Pliskova, the 2017 Doha champion, extended her winning streak to nine matches by holding off Japan's Naomi Osaka 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5) on Thursday.

"Sorry for the tournament that I had to withdraw, but unfortunately I had too many matches in last couple of days, and my body just didn't react well, especially after last night having a tough match against Naomi," Pliskova wrote on Twitter.

"I felt like I was pushing it a little bit over limit, and then I felt very big pain in my lower back, so I'm not able to compete anymore."

Rybakina reached her third final of 2024 after posting a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia.

Rybakina recorded three aces and saved eight of nine break points to dispatch Pavlyuchenkova and improve to 15-2 in 2024. The Russian-born Kazakh finished off her foe with an ace, ending the match in 89 minutes.

Rybakina holds a 3-1 edge in pro meetings against Swiatek.

"I think we both know each other pretty well, and of course we are trying to study and analyze," Rybakina said of Swiatek. "For now it was going my way, but as I said, she's playing really good. I think she's a little bit fresher than me, that's for sure, but for me it was already a very positive two weeks, so I try to push myself (Saturday) and see how it's gonna go.

"For me the most important is try to recover physically, because with Iga, it's a lot about the physics, of course. She's making you work for every point, and of course I need to stay aggressive and play my game, but we see what can I do (on Saturday)."

--Field Level Media