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Swiatek beats Rybakina to clinch third straight Qatar crown

Iga Swiatek has won 23 straight sets in Doha
— Doha (AFP)

World number one Iga Swiatek won the Qatar Open for the third year in a row on Saturday after beating Elena Rybakina 7-6 (10/8), 6-2 in the final.

Swiatek is the first player to win three straight titles at the same WTA event since Serena Williams completed a Miami Open hat-trick from 2013-15.

Rybakina fell short in her bid for a third title of the year. She had lifted the trophy last week in Abu Dhabi after winning in Brisbane at the start of January.

Swiatek, who entered the final having won her last 21 sets at the tournament, made a dreadful start as she fell a double break behind at 1-4.

The Pole broke twice in succession to bring the set back on serve, but it looked as if Rybakina would snatch it when she won a lengthy 11th game to go 6-5 up with her service game to come.

Swiatek rallied once more to force a tie-break but failed to take two set points before having to save one herself. After another missed opportunity, the top seed closed the set out at the fourth time of asking.

She saved two set points early in the second set before putting her foot down to sweep into a 3-1 lead. A second break of the Kazakh in the seventh game left Swiatek on the cusp of victory, which she wrapped up in two hours and 19 minutes.