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Qatar TotalEnergies Open: Iga Swiatek through to final after Karolina Pliskova pulls out injured

Karolina Pliskova, who won her ninth match in the last 10 days against Naomi Osaka, pulls out of Qatar Open to hand Iga Swiatek a passage through to Saturday's final; watch over 80 tournaments a year, including the US Open, exclusively live on Sky Sports Tennis

Poland's Iga Swiatek reacts during a match against Romania's Sorana Cirstea during the Qatar Open in Doha, Qatar, on Monday, Feb. 12, 2024. (AP Photo/Hussein Sayed)
Image: Iga Swiatek is on course for her third straight Qatar TotalEnergies Open title after receiving a walkover into Saturday's final

Top seed and two-time defending champion Iga Swiatek made it through to Qatar TotalEnergies Open final after her opponent Karolina Pliskova pulled out due to a lower back injury.

Swiatek, who made it 11 straight match-wins at the tournament with victory over Victoria Azarenka on Thursday, will now be bidding to become the first player to win a WTA Tour event three consecutive times since Serena Williams prevailed at the Miami Open in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Pliskova, the 2017 Doha champion, won her first title in four years last week in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. She beat Anna Kalinskaya, Anastasia Potapova, Linda Noskova and Naomi Osaka this week to make it nine match wins in the last 10 days, but her ailing body was unable to recover in time for her showdown with Swiatek.

"Sorry for the tournament that I had to withdraw, but unfortunately I had too many matches in last couple of days, and my body just didn't react well, especially after last night having a tough match against Naomi," Pliskova said.

"I felt like I was pushing it a little bit over limit, and then I felt very big pain in my lower back, so I'm not able to compete anymore."

Four-time Grand Slam champion Swiatek will head into Saturday's final on an 11-match winning streak in Doha, having won her last 21 sets at the tournament.

Overall, her career win-loss record at the event is 12-1, with her only defeat coming in the 2020 second round to Svetlana Kuznetsova.

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Kazakstan's Elena Rybakina waves after winning the match against Canada's Leylah Fernandez during the Qatar Open quarter-final in Doha, Qatar, on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024. (AP Photo/Hussein Sayed)
Image: Elena Rybakina will take on Swiatek in Saturday's final, live on Sky Sports Tennis

She will take on Elena Rybakina in the final at 3pm on Sky Sports Tennis after the third seed overcame her good friend Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2 6-4.

Rybakina, who won the Abu Dhabi Open last week, is now 15-2 in 2024 after reaching her third final of the year and a fourth WTA 1000 final in 11 months.

Swiatek and Rybakina have met on four occasions before now, with Rybakina winning the last three, which includes their quarter-final last year in Rome when the Pole retired through injury with the match tied at one set each and 2-2 in the third.

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