Iga Swiatek admitted she was pretty happy with the performance delivered against Sorana Cirstea in her Doha opener and also addressed claims that she is becoming a more offensive and attacking player.
After suffering a shock Australian Open third-round loss to Linda Noskova, Swiatek returned to action on Monday as she destroyed world No. 22 Sorana Cirstea 6-1 6-1 to start her Doha title defense in a very impressive way.
Against Cirstea, Swiatek missed out on two break points in the second game but kept her focus as she still easily won the opening set after breaking the Romanian in the fourth and sixth games. In the second set, Swiatek didn't manage to break Cirstea in the first game of the set but then won six consecutive games to seal a two-set win with just two lost games.
The match lasted an hour and one minute and it was a pretty one-sided battle as Swiatek didn't allow Cirstea a single break point, while earning 11 break points and converting six times en route to registering a dominant win.
"For sure I'm happy with my performance, and I feel like it was a really solid match. I kind of felt like I was able to keep my focus from the beginning till the end. Then, you know, after every game I was more confident and I could even, you know, relax a little bit more at the end. So I'm happy that I just played solid," Swiatek said in her press conference.
Swiatek on a claim that other players have been making about her
Swiatek, who will be turning 23 in May, was a strong force on clay right from the start of her career as she became a Grand Slam champion at the 2020 French Open. But although Swiatek managed to win a Grand Slam very early, it was evident that she still had to improve her game on hard and grass.
Since the 2022 season - a year in which Swiatek was absolutely dominant - the Pole has also established herself as a strong force on hard. And one of the main reasons behind Swiatek improving her game on hard is the fact that the Pole has become more aggressive.
Following Swiatek's win over Cirstea, a reporter told Swiatek that some players have been saying that she is "becoming much more offensive or attacking faster than compared to a couple of years ago." Swiatek was then asked to share her thoughts on that claim.
"Well, I think the biggest difference was, you know, in 2022 when I started, you know, working more on this offensive formations it was a little bit easier for me to use them during the match, and for sure I felt like I have more variety and I could use it," Swiatek explained.
"I would say it depends. I have times where I feel, yeah, like, I'm playing sometimes even too aggressively, so I'm still learning how to balance that to use all these advantages that, you know, being a great defense player and having this, you know, ability to play high topspin and the balls that are going to push my opponent further from the baseline and on the other hand being able to sometimes go forward and play more flat.
"So I feel like I can do both, but I feel like I still need to learn, you know, how to manage it the best way and pick the right solutions and right tournaments and right surfaces. But my coach is really smart and he has a good eye, so he always tells me what will be the best option, so that's really helpful."
Swiatek happy with how her forehand clicked against Cirstea
In the Australian Open third round, Noskova really went after Swiatek's forehand and tried to target that specific shot. But against Cirstea, Swiatek didn't have any difficulties on the forehand side as it worked very smoothly. After beating Cirstea, Swiatek admitted to reporters that she worked on her forehand since her Australian Open loss.
"Well, I'm getting there (smiling). No, I mean, as you could see on the match, it worked, you know. We have been working hard for it to be better," Swiatek acknowledged.
Meanwhile, Swiatek also highlighted that the hard surface in Doha is "slower" than the hard surface at Melbourne Park.
"Oh, yeah, for sure. It's for sure much more slower, yeah," Swiatek said.
Since Swiatek had a first-round bye in Doha, her opener came in the second round and she has been through to the round-of-16 after beating Cirstea. For a place in the Doha quarterfinal, Swiatek plays against the winner of the match between No. 14 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova and Erika Andreeva.
While Swiatek has yet to learn the name of her Doha round-of-16 opponent, she will be the favorite whoever she meets.