Iga Swiatek advances with 3-set victory in San Diego – NBC Sports – Misc.

SAN DIEGO – Top-ranked Iga Swiatek needed more than two hours to post a 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 victory over Zheng Qinwen of China in her opening match at the WTA 500 San Diego Open.
Contending with a steady mist that caused a 30-minute delay just after the match’s initial point was played and a brief halt early in the second set, Swiatek shook off the hard-hitting Qinwen, ranked 28th, in the Round-of-16 match.
Swiatek’s victory was the 61st on the WTA tour this year for the 21-year-old from Poland, who has held the world’s top ranking since April 4.
“I wasn’t expecting to have this kind of good experience so soon in my career,” said Swiatek, who has notched six titles in 2022, including the U.S. Open, French Open and Indian Wells. “It’s like my dreams are coming true.”
Playing on a slick hardcourt surface, both players made frequent use of drop shots, which caused Swiatek to take a fall in the second set as she attempted to return a successful Qinwen drop shot.
The first and second sets were tied at 4-all. In the opening set, Swiatek broke Qinwen’s serve for a 5-4 lead before holding serve.
With the score tied 4-all in the second set, it was Qinwen who broke Swiatek for a 5-4 advantage. Qinwen fended off five break points before claiming the ninth game. Qinwen then broke Swiatek to tie the match at a set apiece.
As tightly contested as the opening sets were, Swiatek quickly grabbed a 5-1 led in the third. She captured the decisive final game, winning four straight points at love.
“This draw is so good that I wasn’t expecting any easy matches,” said Swiatek, who reached last Sunday’s finals of the Agel Open in Ostrava, Czech Republic, before losing to former No. 2 Barbora Krejcikova, who was competing in her native country.
Later Thursday, sixth-seeded Coco Gauff got past unseeded Bianca Andreescu of Canada 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, showing off her fiery shotmaking in the decisive third set.
“There were some turning points, but every game mattered, every point mattered,” Gauff said. “We both fought hard and the atmosphere was great.”
Early in the third set, Gauff faced a 3-1 deficit before taking charge and winning the next five games.
Gauff’s lunging down-the-line forehand just out of Andreescu’s reach sent her into Friday’s quarterfinal match against the top-seed Swiatek.
The match will be a reprise of this year’s French Open final, won in straight sets by Swiatek, who also defeated Gauff in the 2021 Italian Open.
“Iga is a champion, so we’ll see how things go this time,” said the 18-year-old Gauff, who has competed against Swiatek since both were highly-ranked juniors.
The $757,900 WTA 500 San Diego Open, held at San Diego’s Barnes Tennis Center, features seven of the top 10 players in the rankings.
FLORENCE, Italy — Top-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime won the Firenze Open with his 11th ace of the day, beating American J.J. Wolf 6-4, 6-4.
Auger-Aliassime lost his first service game but broke his opponent’s serve either side of that and did not face another break point in the final.
The Canadian secured his second ATP tour title. Wolf was playing in his first ATP final.
“I had a good start first game and then a bit of a tight first service game,” Auger-Aliassime said. “But then after I felt like I was playing really good tennis, serving unbelievable.”
Auger-Aliassime only dropped one set all week at the indoor, hard-court tournament.
“There’s no magic. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose,” he said. “I was the favorite in all of my matches on paper. It’s never an easy position, so to come out and win my four matches with confidence and conviction, it’s really good for my confidence.”
The win will boost Auger-Aliassime’s hopes of qualifying for the ATP Finals, which will be played in Turin next month.
Florence was hosting a tour-level event for the first time since 1994.
SAN DIEGO — Top-ranked Iga Swiatek of Poland rallied to beat fourth-seeded Jessica Pegula 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 to reach the San Diego Open final.
In the other semifinal, qualifier Donna Vekic of Croatia and unseeded American Danielle Collins were tied 2-2 in the third set when the match was delayed by rain. Vekic took the first set and Collins the second, both 6-4. After play resumed, Collins took a 4-2, 0-30 lead before another downpour led tour officials to postpone the remainder of the match.
The two-hour Swiatek-Pegula match featured numerous tight rallies, but Swiatek’s repertoire of side-to-side groundstrokes, lobs and drop shots proved Pegula’s downfall.
“I knew I had the game to win this match, but I just lost my focus in the middle of the (first) set,” said Swiatek, 21, the reigning U.S. Open and French Open champion. “I didn’t want to make that mistake again.”
Almost immediately after the first set ended, a light rain began to fall, causing a 65-minute delay.
“I’m from Europe, so I’m used to wet weather,” said Swiatek, who gained her ninth WTA final of 2022. “With the heavier balls, it was hard for me to play with more topspin. I managed to change it up, so I’m happy about that.”
After Swiatek broke Pegula’s serve for a 4-2 third-set edge, she won the final two games, the winning point coming on a Pegula forehand that landed near the bottom of the net.
“I didn’t think there was that much of a difference between us,” said Pegula, “but she’s No. 1 for a reason and she’s always frustrating to play.”

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