Ostrava Open: Swiatek beats McNally to reach semis, notch 59th win of 2022

World No.1 Iga Swiatek reached her 10th semifinal of 2022 with a 6-4, 6-4 defeat of qualifier Caty McNally at the Ostrava Open, here on Friday.

Having set a record for the longest WTA Tour winning streak between February and July, US Open champion Swiatek’s active streak has now ticked up to nine.

The Pole’s overall season record is 59-7 — one victory away from tying Caroline Wozniacki, the last player to win 60 matches in a single season. The former World No.1 hit that mark in 2017.

Despite being able to wrap up the win in straight sets, Swiatek required 1 hour and 54 minutes to quell McNally’s challenge. There was little smooth sailing against an opponent with whom Swiatek had won the 2018 Roland Garros girls’ doubles title — and to whom she had lost both of their junior meetings.

The 21-year old Swiatek will next face either Seoul champion Ekaterina Alexandrova or wild card Tereza Martincova.

Swiatek faced serious scoreboard pressure in both sets. In the first, she faced break points in each of her first three service games, and was the first player to go down a break when McNally pulled off a terrific passing shot for 3-2.

In the second, Swiatek saw the momentum of a five-game run evaporate as McNally fought back valiantly, pegging the World No 1 back from 3-0 to 3-3 with determined aggression. But at the climax of each set, it was Swiatek who raised her game.

Both players defended break points well; even Swiatek only converted four of her 10 opportunities. But McNally will rue the nine chances out of 11 that she let slip, including a triple break point at the start of the second set that she squandered with a series of errors.

Swiatek and McNally both committed 23 unforced errors, but it was the top seed who found more outright winners, 24 to her opponent’s 18. Indeed, given McNally’s aggressive intent, that number is a reflection of Swiatek’s prowess on defense as well as offense.

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