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Iga Swiatek coasts to China Open title

Second-seeded Iga Swiatek collected her fifth championship this season and 16th of her career with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Liudmila Samsonova on Sunday in the final of the China Open in Beijing.

Swiatek, the world’s No. 2 player, became the first player since Serena Williams to capture at least five titles in consecutive seasons. Williams last accomplished the feat in 2014 and 2015.

Swiatek, 22, also became the only player to win at least six WTA 1000 titles prior to the age of 23, eclipsing the total of five by Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki.

Swiatek made short work of Samsonova after snapping U.S. Open champion Coco Gauff’s 16-match winning streak in the semifinals. On Sunday, the Poland native converted all four break points to win the match in 69 minutes.

It was a gratifying win for Swiatek, who was knocked out of the U.S. Open in the Round of 16 and lost in the quarterfinals at the Toray Pan Pacific in Tokyo last week.

“You could feel that we are playing a final because it was a little bit tense, I would say,” Swiatek said after the match. “But I’m happy that I kind of adjusted to what Liudmila was playing. I wanted to really be consistent with what I wanted to do no matter how she’s doing.

“I’m happy that I won because, for sure, this is really big for me. Winning this title is something that I never would have thought at the beginning of the tournament about. I’m pretty proud of myself.”

Swiatek improved to 3-0 all-time versus Samsonova after the 24-year-old Russian’s drop shot sailed into the net on match point.

Swiatek sits only 630 points behind World No. 1 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus for the top spot in the rankings.

Despite the loss, Samsonova’s run of success in China will propel her into the Top 20 in the latest WTA rankings on Monday.

“I think this is what she’s doing the best because this is the stress that she made to other players, that she doesn’t make unforced errors,” Samsonova said of Swiatek. “Every time you need to do something more. It’s not real what you feel, but she makes you feel like this. This is what I learned today.”

To reach the second WTA 1000 final of the season, Samsonova defeated Wimbledon champion and No. 5 seed Elena Rybakina 7-6 (7), 6-3 on Saturday.

–Field Level Media

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