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Swiatek through to Qatar Open final against Rybakina after walkover

Top seed and two-time defending champion Iga Swiatek made it through to Qatar TotalEnergies Open final after her opponent Karolina Pliskova pulled out due to a lower back injury.

Swiatek, who made it 11 straight match-wins at the tournament with victory over Victoria Azarenka on Thursday, will now be bidding to become the first player to win a WTA Tour event three consecutive times since Serena Williams prevailed at the Miami Open in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Pliskova, the 2017 Doha champion, won her first title in four years last week in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. She beat Anna Kalinskaya, Anastasia Potapova, Linda Noskova and Naomi Osaka this week to make it nine match wins in the last 10 days, but her ailing body was unable to recover in time for her showdown with Swiatek.

“Sorry for the tournament that I had to withdraw, but unfortunately I had too many matches in last couple of days, and my body just didn’t react well, especially after last night having a tough match against Naomi,” Pliskova said.

“I felt like I was pushing it a little bit over limit, and then I felt very big pain in my lower back, so I’m not able to compete anymore.”

Four-time Grand Slam champion Swiatek will head into Saturday’s final on an 11-match winning streak in Doha, having won her last 21 sets at the tournament.

Overall, her career win-loss record at the event is 12-1, with her only defeat coming in the 2020 second round to Svetlana Kuznetsova.

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Kazakstan's Elena Rybakina waves after winning the match against Canada's Leylah Fernandez during the Qatar Open quarter-final in Doha, Qatar, on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024. (AP Photo/Hussein Sayed)
Image: Elena Rybakina will take on Swiatek in Saturday’s final, live on Sky Sports Tennis

She will take on Elena Rybakina in the final at 3pm on Sky Sports Tennis after the third seed overcame her good friend Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2 6-4.

Rybakina, who won the Abu Dhabi Open last week, is now 15-2 in 2024 after reaching her third final of the year and a fourth WTA 1000 final in 11 months.

Swiatek and Rybakina have met on four occasions before now, with Rybakina winning the last three, which includes their quarter-final last year in Rome when the Pole retired through injury with the match tied at one set each and 2-2 in the third.

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Image: The stars of tennis will appear on the new Sky Sports Tennis channel every day

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For further access, fans will also be able to follow their favourite players and gain deeper insights from both Tours via Sky Sports News, the Sky Sports app, on SkySports.com and via Sky Sports social channels.

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