Top-ranked Swiatek advances to San Diego final

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SAN DIEGO — Top-ranked Iga Swiatek of Poland rallied to beat fourth-seeded Jessica Pegula on Saturday to reach the San Diego Open final.

In the other semifinal, qualifier Donna Vekic of Croatia and unseeded American Danielle Collins were tied 2-2 in the third set when the match was delayed by rain. Vekic took the first set and Collins the second, both 6-4.

The two-hour Swiatek-Pegula match featured numerous tight rallies, but Swiatek’s repertoire of side-to-side groundstrokes, lobs and drop shots proved Pegula’s downfall.

“I knew I had the game to win this match, but I just lost my focus in the middle of the [first] set,” said Swiatek, 21, the reigning US Open and French Open champion. “I didn’t want to make that mistake again.”

Almost immediately after the first set ended, a light rain began to fall, causing a 65-minute delay.

“I’m from Europe, so I’m used to wet weather,” said Swiatek, who gained her ninth WTA final of 2022. “With the heavier balls, it was hard for me to play with more topspin. I managed to change it up, so I’m happy about that.”

After Swiatek broke Pegula’s serve for a 4-2 third-set edge, she won the final two games, the winning point coming on a Pegula forehand that landed near the bottom of the net.

“I didn’t think there was that much of a difference between us,” said Pegula, “but she’s No. 1 for a reason and she’s always frustrating to play.”

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