Athletes titles Barnes Tennis Center
No. 1-ranked Iga Swiatek during the San Diego tournament. Photo credit: Courtesy, San Diego Open WTA 50

Top seed Iga Swiatek ended qualifier Donna Vekic’s dream run with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-0 triumph Sunday in the San Diego Open WTA 500 final.

It marked the No. 1 ranked Swiatek’s second title in Southern California this year, as she also prevailed in Indian Wells. The reigning US Open champ is 24-1 on American soil in 2022, her lone blemish a 6-3, 6-4 fourth-round loss to Madison Keys in Cincinnati.

She is 3-0 when meeting Vekic.

Her season includes a tour-leading 64 wins in matches and eight singles titles. She is 28 weeks into her reign at No. 1.

“It was a really tight match. I think both of us, physically, we felt the intensity,” said Swiatek, 21. “At the end, I wanted to really be the one who was going to play the last ball in. It happened a few times and that gave me a lot of confidence.”

Swiatek, from Poland, improved to 11-2 in career finals.

The 77th-ranked Vekic navigated the qualifying draw, stunned three Top-20 opponents and a former No. 1 in Maria Sakkari, Karolina Pliskova, Aryna Sabalenka and Danielle Collins

She dispatched Collins in a two-day, rain-suspended match that saw her erase a 2-4 third-set deficit. Only hours later, she took the court again to face Swiatek under sunny skies at Barnes Tennis Center.

Once beset by injuries, Vekic, from Croatia, again resembles the player who rose to a career-high No. 19 in 2019. After her week in San Diego, she will return to the Top 50 in the WTA rankings.

The American duo of Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff, having already qualified for the year-end WTA Finals in Fort Worth, captured the doubles title in a 1-6, 7-5, 10-4 victory over Canada’s Gabriela Dabrowski and Mexico’s Giuliana Olmos.

“I think the keys were being aggressive and letting the first set go,” said Gauff of the tandem’s turnaround. “The way they play can be very frustrating, and you can lose games really fast. We just needed to take our chances and take our risks.”



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Ellen Bullock