Iga Swiatek wins on return to WTA Tour

Iga Swiatek

World No 1 Iga Swiatek breezed into the last eight of the Agel Open in Ostrava after Ajla Tomljanovic was forced to retire due to a left knee injury trailing 7-5, 2-2.

Swiatek had to battle hard to eventually clinch the opening set before her Australian opponent broke drown.

Tomljanovic sustained the injury during the match, first clutching her knee early in the secend set.

While the Australian battled on for a spell she eventually threw in the towel.

“We played in Toronto and I saw in the US Open how well Ajla played — it seems she’s really on a roll and she’s playing better and better. It was a great match and it’s unfortunate that something happened — I hope she’s going to recover quickly.

“I’ve had a three-week break from playing matches, and after such an intense time it seems like a lot. I felt like I need to get back to the rhythm, and it wasn’t easy.

“I had a bye, and Ajla already played a few matches. So I felt like I need to catch up. But I’m pretty happy this match was so intense, because I feel like I had to go to another level and it’s going to prepare me for the next matches.”

Swiatek moves into the 11th WTA Tour quarterfinal of her 2022 season, where she will face either home wild card Karolina Muchova or qualifier Caty McNally.

Both Muchova and McNally, delivered impressive highlight reel-worthy displays en route to their first-round wins.

McNally’s incredible touch and an audacious tweener would get the American past fellow qualifier Anna Blinkova 6-1, 6-2 on Tuesday.

Prior to Swiatek hitting Center Court, former World No 19 and home hope Muchova upset No 7 seed Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-4, 6-4, coming from a break down in both sets.

It was the Czech woman’s first win over a Top 20 opponent since defeating Maria Sakkari in the second round of Roland Garros, and continues an uptick in form this month after an injury-hit season.

Swiatek, a semifinalist in Ostrava last year where she fell to Sakkari, is bidding for her first tour-level title on indoor hard courts this week.

Her only previous title at an indoor hard court tournament came at the Stockholm W10 ITF eevent in 2006, which was her first ever pro title at the age of 15.

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