The bare facts of the WTA Adelaide International final were simple. Iga Swiatek, won her second career title and her very first on hard courts, dismissing the challenge of the resurgent Belinda Bencic 6-2 6-2, fittingly in 62 minutes.
It was a performance that emboldens Swiatek’s growing confidence on hard courts. At the Australian Open, she reached the fourth round for the second straight year, and only a valiant effort from Simona Halep stopped her from making it to the quarterfinals.
Unlike her triumph at Roland Garros which was unexpected, the writing in Adelaide was on the wall the moment she elected to participate in the last stop of the Australian summer series. But there is a lot in common with that stunning run at the French Open last year. Swiatek won the Adelaide International without dropping a set all week, and did not lose more than four games in any set. It was a mirror achievement to what she set out in Paris last autumn.
The Pole who has now established herself as one of the most prominent athletes in her country, encountered little resistance from Belinda Bencic in the championship match. The Swiss woman, seeded second this week, was enjoying a renaissance after an awful run of form at tour level. Arriving in Australia, Bencic hadn’t won a competitive match since the Qatar Open last February. But she performed brilliantly throughout the week, besting Cori Gauff in a thrilling semifinal.
But against an accomplished teenager in Swiatek, the Swiss could not find her range. Bencic was error-prone throughout the match, hitting a miserable four double faults in the sixth game of the first set to gift Swiatek an early lead and the Pole was not slow to take advantage.
Swiatek’s aggression and self-expression are the hallmarks of her game. Stepping just a yard out from the baseline when returning, she quickly goes for the kill when attacking. The 19-year-old hops like a frog to hug the inside baseline. Bencic had no option but to go big on her second serves, culminating in a series of double faults. There were eight to be exact from the Swiss’ racket.
Game. Set. Champion 🏆
— Adelaide International (@AdelaideTennis) February 27, 2021
After wrapping up the first set in just over half an hour, she was quickly on court before the start of the second. Her opponent Bencic had taken a bathroom break. Swiatek was on an adrenaline rush, as she moved purposefully stretching her limbs and motioning her shots.
By the time Bencic took to the court, Swiatek’s good form showed no signs of waning. The Polish fifth seed played in typical self-aggrandizing fashion in the second set. She secured two breaks of serve and there was simply no way back for the second seed. Overall Swiatek smacked 22 winners to just six unforced errors and remarkably, she did not face a single break point on her serve and dominated behind her first serve. Such was her dominance. With this win, Swiatek will break into the world’s top 15 in the WTA rankings for the first time.
Embed from Getty Images