New Straits Times
IGA GRABS ADELAIDE CROWN
Polish star crushes Belinda to take her second title
FRENCH Open champion Iga Swiatek crushed World No 12 Belinda Bencic in straight sets to claim the Adelaide International at Memorial Drive yesterday.
The 19-year-old Pole was in ruthless form as she downed Belinda 6-2, 6-2 to claim the second title of her career.
Iga burst onto the tennis scene at Roland Garros last year when she claimed the French Open crown, defeating then World No 6 Sofia Kenin in the final.
She started strongly against Belinda and never eased up, breaking her Swiss opponent twice in each set to wrap up a comfortable victory.
Belinda had been forced to battle for almost three hours to see off Coco Gauff in their semi-final on Friday night, and she started strongly in yesterday’s final.
Both players were untroubled, holding their opening service games until Belinda’s serve deserted her at 2-2 and Iga took full advantage.
She broke Belinda and was never in trouble after that, running away with the title on the back of a powerful forehand and Belinda’s misfiring serve, which included eight double faults.
Iga went into the tournament as World No 18 but will now rise to a career-high 15 as a result of the win, her first hard-court title.
She said she appreciated being able to play in front of spectators during the Australian tournaments, particularly in front of a capacity crowd for the Adelaide final.
“It’s been an amazing time here in Australia,” she said.
Belinda, whose 2020 was badly affected by injury problems, was playing her 11th final but her first for 12 months.
The former World No 4 showed some glimpses of her best tennis but had no answers against Iga.
“Tennis can be a little bit brutal,” she said.
“You can have a very good week and still end up losing and having a bitter feeling.
“I didn’t manage to find a way today but I think I had a great week and I really enjoyed playing here.”
The women’s doubles final was won by Chilean-US pair Alexa Guarachi and Desirae Krawczyk, who beat Hayley Carter of the US and Brazil’s Luisa Stefani 6-7 (4-7), 6-4, 10-3.