Iga Swiatek is finally starting to come back into the red-hot form that she became so well-known for in 2022. After a slow start to 2023- losing at the United Cup to Jessica Pegula, and then being ousted very early at the Australian Open to eventual finalist Rybakina, Iga is finally gaining some momentum over her favourite part of the season. Historically, Iga’s strongest stretch of play has been post-Australian Open but pre-Wimbledon- so it’s possible that she is following that same trajectory in 2023. Kudermetova on the other hand has had an objectively stronger start to 2023 than Iga. Having made the quarterfinal last week in Abu Dhabi- as well as a quarter-final and semi-final respectively at Adelaide 1 and 2-,Veronika will be looking to impose her stronger start to the season over Iga.
In terms of this upcoming quarter-final at the Doha Open, the match will be a battle of contrasting styles. Swiatek’s aggressive style, where she looks to dictate play from the baseline, would be pitted against Kudermetova’s more defensive approach, where she aims to counter her opponents with her excellent court coverage and counterpunching abilities. Swiatek’s forehand, which has been described as one of the best in the game, would be the key weapon for her in this match. She would look to use it to dominate play, force Kudermetova onto the back foot and create opportunities to hit winners. Kudermetova, on the other hand, would need to be quick on her feet, anticipate Swiatek’s shots and use her own groundstrokes to neutralize Swiatek’s aggression.
Another interesting aspect of this potential matchup is the mental battle that would likely ensue. Swiatek has already shown that she has a strong mental game, handling pressure situations well and staying focused during matches. Kudermetova, on the other hand, has had some inconsistencies in this area, and it remains to be seen how she would cope with the pressure of playing a top player like Swiatek.