Krejcikova stuns top-ranked Swiatek to claim Dubai crown

February 26, 2023 11:56 am

[Source: Reuters]

Barbora Krejcikova beat an out-of-sorts Iga Swiatek 6-4 6-2 in the Dubai Tennis Championships final on Saturday to end the top-ranked Pole’s winning run in the Middle East swing and capture her first WTA title of 2023 and sixth overall.

Victory meant former world number two Krejcikova became only the fifth player to defeat the top three in the world at the same event and she began in dominant fashion by breaking in the first game with a searing crosscourt backhand winner.

A loose game allowed Swiatek to draw level at 3-3 but her Czech opponent — who is a fellow Grand Slam champion having won the Roland Garros title in 2021 — struck back immediately with aggressive ball-striking only to surrender her serve again.

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Krejcikova took the next game to love as Swiatek struggled to contain the unforced errors and the 27-year-old held firm to wrap up the opening set when the Pole sent a forehand long.

It was the first set that Doha champion Swiatek had dropped in the past two weeks and the 21-year-old found herself trailing 4-2 in the second set as Krejcikova took control of the match.

Krejcikova, who defeated Australian Open champion and world number two Aryna Sabalenka in the quarter-finals and the third-ranked Jessica Pegula in the semis, closed out the match on serve to join an elite club.

Steffi Graf, Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Sabalenka are the only others who have beaten the top-three ranked players in the same tournament.

Krejcikova is set to climb from number 30 to 16 when the rankings are updated on Monday.