TennisSection previews the 2023 Qatar Open as Iga Swiatek takes on Jessica Pegula in the final on Saturday, February 18, 2023.
The second WTA tournament of the Middle East Swing will be up for grabs. Will Poland’s Iga Swiatek retain her Qatar Open crown? Or will USA’s Jessica Pegula stun the World No. 1 for the second time this year?
Iga Swiatek produced yet another drubbing, this time blowing away World No. 11 Veronika Kudermetova, remarkably with the same scoreline as she did in her first match against Danielle Collins. Swiatek took less than an hour to complete a 6-0 6-1 beatdown of Kudermetova who looked helpless. The World No. 1 laid down a maker before the final, she is not ready to relinquish her Qatar Open crown and on the evidence of her two performances this week, it would take an extraordinary performance by Jessica Pegula to stop Swiatek in her tracks.
Jessica Pegula, meanwhile, recovered from a second-set blip to knock out Maria Sakkari and reach her first WTA final of the season. Pegula as you recall saved match points in her Round of 16 match against Jelena Ostapenko, storming back from 2-5 down and winning five straight games. The American hasn’t looked back and is on course to win another WTA title after saving match points following a similar feat in Guadalajara at the backend of last season. Can she end Swiatek’s title defense at the Qatar Open?
Iga Swiatek leads Jessica Pegula 4-2 in their head-to-head. Pegula won the pair’s clash last month at the United Cup in straight sets as the USA went on to win the inaugural team competition. Swiatek will be looking to exact revenge on that defeat. It was a lackluster performance that you wouldn’t really associate with the World No. 1 who is usually so precise and unerring. Pegula has sort of pulled the rabbit out of the hat after she looked down and out against Ostapenko in her first match. But her response since then has been superb. The Pole though is playing at a breakneck pace and is not even allowing her opponents any breathing space in between points. Swiatek is in utopia right now and expect her to get the better of the consistent American.
Free Tennis Prediction and Pick: Iga Swiatek in 2 sets
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