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United Cup: World No.1 Swiatek wins season opener in Brisbane, gives Poland lead against Kazakhstan

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United Cup: World No.1 Swiatek wins season opener in Brisbane, gives Poland lead against Kazakhstan

Brisbane, Dec 31 (Ajit Weekly News) Women’s world No.1 Iga Swiatek started the new tennis season on a winning note with a comfortable win, playing for Poland in the United Cup tennis tournament on Saturday.

Swiatek showed no signs of rust in her first match of the 2023 season, defeating Yulia Putintseva 6-1, 6-3, giving No.2 seed Poland a 1-0 lead over Kazakhstan in the maiden edition of the mixed. team competition that is currently being played in three cities in Australia — Perth, Brisbane and Sydney.

With Polish great Agnieszka Radwanska looking on from the captain’s box, Swiatek needed just three games before finding the rhythm and range that made her the runaway 2022 WTA Tour Player of the Year. Putintseva earned an early breakpoint chance in Swiatek’s first game, but the Pole coolly erased it with pinpoint accuracy.

“I’m pretty happy with my performance,” Swiatek was quoted as saying in a report on the WTA Tour website. “First matches of the season are always rusty. I was happy that in the important moments I was really composed.”

Under pressure again while serving at 1-1, 0-30, Swiatek found another gear to reel off 12 consecutive points to build a 4-1 lead. Having made six unforced errors in the first three games, Swiatek would make just one for the rest of the set, pocketing the set after 27 minutes.

Swiatek underlined her reputation as the tour’s preeminent front-runner in the second set. After keeping Putintseva at bay in the early games, Swiatek broke to take a 3-2 and held her lead to win after 64 minutes. Swiatek finished the match with 22 groundstroke winners — 17 on the forehand alone — to just five for Putintseva.

The victory extended Swiatek’s head-to-head record against Putintseva to 2-0.

The United Cup is a new mixed-teams event featuring 18 countries. Played over two days, ties will be comprised of two ATP and two WTA singles matches and one mixed-doubles match.

–Ajit Weekly News

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