Iga Swiatek
Top seed Iga Swiatek of Poland in action against American Coco Gauff in the semifinals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship on Friday. Swiatek entered the Dubai final on her third attempt. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

World No. 1 Iga Swiatek owns 12 WTA titles, including three Grand Slams. But the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship doesn’t figure among them. The Polish top seed seem keen to rectify that aberration as she worked her way through to a maiden final in Dubai on her third visit.

Fifth seed Coco Gauff stood in her way but Swiatek served well and followed it up with precisely struck groundstrokes to quell the American’s challenge 6-4, 6-2 in the semifinals. The Pole, who had won the Qatar Open last week, will play Barbora Krejcikova of Czech Republic in the Dubai final on Saturday. In the semifinal, Krejcikova beat American Jessica Pegula, the finalist at the Qatar Open.

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Gauff, who has lost to Swiatek in the five meetings, seemed keen to avoid another defeat. The World No. 6 put forth a brave fight but the Polish top seed was far too strong and more consistent to surrender the early advantage. Gauff could take cold comfort from breaking the World No. 2 once in each game. That is an achievement since the Pole has been breezing through her matches without dropping many games.

“Coco is a great player I knew it is going to be tough. I just focused on my serve and kept going, sticking to my tactics,” Swiatek said at the courtside interview.

Swiatek was off to swift start working the points and putting away winners, breaking Gauff twice in the first seven games. The American broke back soon and threatened a repeat in the tenth game. Swiatek closed out the game after Gauff saved two set points.

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The World No. 1 continued to serve well in the second set too, putting pressure on Gauff, whose trusted forehand began to let her down and lost her serve. The American fifth seed charged the net occasionally with success, and broke Swiatek, who hit back with another break and served out the match.

“I'm happy that I started both sets well. She [Gauff] used her chances to come back and to win a break. But I felt I could always come back to the game I was played at the beginning. I'm pretty happy that I was solid and just confident,” the top seed told reporters.

Even when her serve is under pressure, Swiatek seems to find answers with deep fast ground strokes and win games. That's what makes her so dominant,