Swiatek untouchable, Alcaraz victorious in comeback

Statement wins for Pole and Spaniard in Doha and Buenos Aires

Iga Swiatek / Open d'Australie 2023©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT
 - Reem Abulleil

An impressive title defence, a long-awaited comeback, and a couple of riveting trophy runs on either sides of the Atlantic highlighted a busy week on the WTA and ATP tours.

Here's our round-up of the week gone by in the world of professional tennis.

Iga soars in windy Qatar

Iga Swiatek is back to her ruthless best as she successfully defended her Qatar Open title at the loss of just five games throughout the week.

The reigning Roland-Garros and US Open champion had a bye in her opening round in Doha, and received a walkover when Belinda Bencic withdrew ahead of their quarter-final due to fatigue.

But still, through three matches, Swiatek dropped a mere total of five games, defeating Danielle Collins and Veronika Kudermetova by the same scoreline in her first two clashes, 6-0, 6-1 and knocking out Jessica Pegula 6-3, 6-0 in the final.

The last woman to lose just five games en route to a title was Suzanne Lenglen on her way to the Wimbledon title back in 1925.

In tough windy conditions, the 21-year-old Swiatek gave a masterclass in adaptability as she avenged her United Cup defeat to Pegula from last month in commanding fashion.

“I just feel really happy I could adjust quickly to the conditions. Even I was surprised that I was kind of using the wind the proper way,” said the Pole, who now owns 12 career titles.

“I'm really happy that I could find more balance comparing to how I felt at the beginning of the season. I think this tournament is going to give me a lot of confidence, but still, I want to take everything step by step.”

Swiatek started the tournament by saying she needed to reset her mind after the Australian Open and figure out a way to lower her own expectations after her stunning 2022 that saw her win eight titles, including two Grand Slams.

“I told myself before every match that the conditions are tricky, the tournament is so packed that I don't have to expect from myself that I'm going to play magnificent tennis.

“But then, I don't know, I felt better and better on court. I didn't really come back to these thoughts. I just, I don't know, really enjoyed playing.”

Swiatek immediately switches her attention to the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, where she headlines a strong field and will kick off her campaign against Canadian lefty Leylah Fernandez.

Carlitos reigns in Buenos Aires

Back in action for the first time since November 4, 2022, Carlos Alcaraz stormed to the title in Buenos Aires, overcoming Cameron Norrie 6-3, 7-5 in the final on Sunday.

Alcaraz, who became the youngest ATP No.1 in history last year, saw his 2022 season end prematurely due to an abdominal injury, and suffered another setback that delayed his start to the 2023 season, missing out on the Australian Open due to a leg problem.

The 19-year-old couldn’t have asked for a better comeback though as he enjoyed a triumphant week in Argentina, to add a seventh career trophy to his rapidly-growing collection.

Alcaraz, who is now just 590 points behind world No.1 Novak Djokovic in the rankings, now owns an impressive 7-2 record in finals.

"I felt very comfortable playing the final," Alcaraz was quoted as saying by atptour.com. "I knew that it was going to be really difficult. I started really focused on what I had to do at the beginning, my game, my level.  This is the level that I have to play in finals."

Alcaraz has more reason to celebrate as he was announced as one of the nominees for the 2023 Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award.

The Spaniard’s next stop is the Rio Open, where he kicks off his campaign against Brazilian Mateus Alves.

Silverware for Medvedev, Fritz

Former world No.1 Daniil Medvedev slipped back into the top 10 in convincing manner, navigating a tough field to lift the trophy in Rotterdam with a final victory over Italian Jannik Sinner on Sunday.

Medvedev needed two hours and 29 minutes to get the better of recent Montpellier champion Sinner 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 and now owns 15 hard-court titles and 16 overall.

“It’s great because it’s still the beginning of the year, my third tournament of the year, and already a title. Last year I needed 12 tournaments or something like this. Beating great players, playing great here,” said Medvedev, whose path to the title also saw him claim wins over Grigor Dimitrov, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Botic van de Zandschulp and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

“Mentally it’s tough to come back after you (drop out) of the top 10. I’m just happy to find my form and am looking forward to the next tournament and hopefully I can continue in this way.”

Meanwhile in Delray Beach, world No.7 Taylor Fritz bagged the fifth ATP trophy of his career with a hard-fought 6-0, 5-7, 6-2 success over Serbia’s Miomir Kecmanovic in the final.

Fritz fired 10 aces against Kecmanovic and won 95 percent of his first-serve points to take home the victory.