Iga Swiatek bakery back in business, Jessica Pegula saves two match points, Coco Gauff on the defence

Shahida Jacobs
Iga Swiatek celebrates

Iga Swiatek required only 53 minutes to start her Qatar Open title defence with a win over Danielle Collins while there were also victories for Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff.

Playing in her first match since losing in the fourth round of the Australian Open, Swiatek was back to her best as she produced a commanding 6-0, 6-1 victory over the American.

The opening set took just 21 minutes to complete as the world No 1 lost only four points with three of those coming on her own serve. After breaking in game two of the second set, Swiatek faced her toughest service game of the match as game three took 14 points to complete, but the top seed broke again in game six to secure an easy win over the world No 42.

Swiatek won eight titles last year, including the French Open and US Open, and she admitted that she has some extra pressure this year.

“For me it was a pretty nice chapter, but I am really looking forward to the next challenges,” she said. “Yes, the season was great but it puts a lot of baggage on one’s shoulders so I am trying to shake it off and move forward.”

She will face the in-form Belinda Bencic, who won the Abu Dhabi Open over the weekend, in the quarter-final after the seventh seed came back from a nightmare start to defeat former world No 1 Victoria Azarenka.

Bencic rallied from a set and two breaks down to beat Azarenka 1-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4.

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World No 4 Pegula also battled to victory as she saved two match points against former French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko.

The second-seeded American broke twice in the opening set before Ostapenko returned the compliment to take it to a decider. The Latvian then had two match points on the Pegula serve in game 10, but the American held firm and then broke in the next game before serving it out for a 6-2, 2-6, 7-5.

Fourth seed Coco Gauff produced a defensive display to get the better of two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, winning 6-3, 7-6 (8-6). The American broke once in the opening set and then edged the tie-breaker.

“I felt like I have watched her for a long time, and it was weird playing her in that respect, because it’s like almost meeting a celebrity in a way,” Gauff said.

“[I had to just] accept when she hits a winner. There were points that I thought I played well, and she just came up with a good shot. She hit an amazing down-the-line forehand, and I thought I had a pretty good backhand – not a winner, but enough to get her on defense. It clearly wasn’t enough.

“The only thing you can do is clap your hands and keep on moving. I think for me, playing her, I just tried to focus on my end of the court and let her hit her winners or not and try to be aggressive when I could.

“I honestly didn’t have a lot of chances today. I think I definitely won more points on the defence.”

Up next is Veronika Kudermetova after the eighth seed defeated former Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin 6-2, 7-5.

Fifth seed Maria Sakkari also advanced as she eased to a 6-3, 6-2 win over Ekaterina Alexandrova while Beatriz Haddad Maia upset eighth seed Daria Kasatkina 6-3, 7-6 (9-7).