Swiatek sweeps past Fernandez in Dubai
Iga Swiatek continued her ruthless form as she progressed with ease to the WTA Dubai Tennis Championships third round on Tuesday.
The world number one cruised to a 6-1 6-1 triumph over 2021 US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez, just three days after winning the Qatar Ladies Open in Doha.
That marked Swiatek's 41st main-draw victory in WTA 1000 events in just her 53rd outing, only Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova (52 each) have won more than 40 such matches in fewer attempts.
The 21-year-old has won her last 35 hard-court matches against opponents ranked outside the world's top 30, though Swiatek said she had to adapt against Canada's Fernandez.
"It wasn't that easy for sure. It was much tougher than the score said," said Swiatek, who will look to make the fourth round for the first time in Dubai when she faces Liudmila Samsonova.
"In the second set ... I needed to go a level up. I didn't have much time to get used to the conditions, but I'm just happy I could play solid tennis."
Jessica Pegula, the third favourite at the tournament, defeated Viktoriya Tomova 6-2 5-7 6-1 to set up a third-round battle with Ana Bogdan, who overcame Shelby Rogers 7-6 (7-3) 6-3.
Fifth seed Coco Gauff coasted past Aliaksandra Sasnovich with a 6-0 6-4 victory, teeing up a meeting with Elena Rybakina, who slammed six aces in a 7-5 6-2 defeat of Marie Bouzkova.
World number two Aryna Sabalenka, who defeated Rybakina at this year's Australian Open final, made light work of lucky loser Lauren Davis in a straight-sets rout as she claimed her 12th straight win in 2023.
Dubai's defending champion Jelena Ostapenko will be the next challenge for Sabalenka after defeating 17-year-old Linda Fruhvirtova for her seventh straight win at the event.
Barbora Krejcikova saved four match points en route to a 6-4 4-6 7-5 win over seventh seed Daria Kasatkina and will meet Karolina Pliskova next after she downed sixth favourite Maria Sakkari in straight sets.
Belinda Bencic and Marta Kostyuk played out the match of the day as the former claimed a 6-7 (7-9) 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 triumph, with that clash taking three hours and 27 minutes – the second-longest on the WTA Tour this year.