Iga Swiatek and Elena Rybakina vie for the Qatar TotalEnergies Open title

Rybakina defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Swiatek got a walkover in Friday's semifinals

Clive Brunskill/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

The semifinals of the 2024 Qatar TotalEnergies Open went somewhat as expected. Elena Rybakina who fought through a tough draw that included a three-set match against Emma Navarro and a challenging quarterfinal against Leylah Fernandez advanced to the Saturday final with a straight-set win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Rybakina is seeking her third title of the season with previous wins at January's Brisbane International and last week's Abu Dhabi Open. At times in this tournament, Rybakina has not played or best and looked sluggish, but when it counted, she lifted her level to get the win.

The other side of the draw did not produce the semifinal tennis fans hoped for. Karolina Pliskova, who has been on a roll in 2024 looking more like her 2017 self, had to withdraw with a lower back injury. Iga Swiatek earned the walkover win and is rested and ready for the final.

Rybakina owns the head-to-head record over Swiatek

Swiatek does not relish playing Rybakina. In their four previous meetings, Swiatek has only won one of them, and Rybakina won the last three, all in 2023, at the Australian Open, Indian Wells, and Rome.

Swiatek has been dominant from the first ball in Doha. She has not dropped a set and has never been in jeopardy of losing control of a match. She lost 11 total games in her three previous matches. She is the two-time defending champion of this event and historically plays some of her best tennis at this tournament.

It would be shocking if Rybakina took down the World No. 1 in Doha when she is focused on becoming the first three-peat champion. Rybakina has played more tennis this year and is match ready but could be fatigued, something that Swiatek will take advantage of by making her run often. The Doha women's singles champion will be crowned on Saturday.

Read more on Lob and Smash

manual