The final of the 2023 Beijing Open will be played between Liudmila Samsonova and Iga Swiatek. It will be the second time the two will be fighting it out against each other on the court in 2023, and the third time overall in their career.
Samsonova ousted fifth-seeded Elena Rybakina in their semi-final. The 24-year-old completed a 7-6(7), 6-3 win in a match that finished 20 minutes shy of two hours. Entering the match, Samsonova had boasted of a 3-0 win-to-loss record against her coeval.
However, in the first set that was quite close, Rybakina did her best to overturn this statistic. Last year’s Wimbledon titlist did well to do better on second-serve points won - winning 60% to her opponent’s 50% in the set.
But she still came up short on first-serve points, winning only 61% to the latter’s 67%. In the second set, Samsonova upped her game considerably. She put in 15 points on her first serve and won all but one of these. She also won five of nine points played on her higher-ranked rival’s second serve.
Throughout that set, Samsonova didn’t face any break point but converted one break point to ensure a safe passage into the last match of the event.
China Open: Iga Swiatek's seeking her WTA 1000 redemption this year
Meanwhile, in the first semi-final, Swiatek righted her performance ship against Coco Gauff that had briefly turned askew.
The Pole clinched a 6-2, 6-3 victory over the American after 79 minutes of play. The win also meant Swiatek now has a 8-1 lead against Gauff, as far as win-to-loss records are concerned. Swiatek came out playing the kind of game that had previously put Gauff in trouble against her.
She won 26 of 30 points played on her first serve to Gauff winning 22 of 37. She also won 60% of her second-serve points won and 62% points on return on her rival’s second serve. The China Open final will be Iga Swiatek’s third presence in a event of this stature.
In the two previous finals she’s played at the WTA 1000 in 2023, she lost both. In Dubai, Barbora Krejcikova defeated her while in Madrid, it was Aryna Sabalenka who got the better of her. Prior to these two defeats, Swiatek had won five WTA 1000 tournaments in a row, between the 2021 Italian Open and the 2022 Italian Open.