February WTA Recap: Swiatek, Rybakina, Paolini Among Top Performers

February WTA Recap: Swiatek, Rybakina, Paolini Among Top Performers

Featuring two WTA 1000-level tournaments, the month of February provided plenty of opportunities for the world’s best players to shine, and shine, they did.

Here’s which events played out in February:

February 5-11:
WTA 500 Abu Dhabi: Elena Rybakina def. Daria Kasatkina
WTA 125 Mumbai: Darja Semenistaja def. Storm Hunter
WTA 250 Cluj-Napoca: Karolina Pliskova def. Ana Bogdan

February 11-17:
WTA 1000 Doha: Iga Swiatek def. Elena Rybakina

February 18-25:
WTA 1000 Dubai: Jasmine Paolini def. Anna Kalinskaya
WTA 125 Puerto Vallarta: Mccartney Kessler def. Taylah Preston

February 26-March 3:
WTA 500 San Diego: Katie Boulter def. Marta Kostyuk
WTA 250 Austin: Yuan Yue def. Wang Xiyu

Below are five standout players from the past few weeks of action in women’s tennis heading into Indian Wells:

Iga Swiatek (UTR Rating 13.27)

After an untimely third-round exit at the Australian Open, Iga Swiatek came roaring back in Doha. Without dropping a set, the 22-year-old won her 18th WTA crown, highlighted by a 7-6(8), 6-2 victory over Elena Rybakina in the final. Rybakina had won their three previous meetings, all taking place in 2023.

Swiatek continued her top form the next week as the tour moved to Dubai for back-to-back WTA 1000 tournaments. Ousting Sloane Stephens, Elina Svitolina, and recent Australian Open finalist Zheng Qinwen, the WTA world No. 1 advanced to the semifinals before being upset by Anna Kalinskaya.

Elena Rybakina (UTR 12.99)

The 2022 Wimbledon champion was knocked out in the second round of the Australian Open but found her form this month, making two consecutive finals.

First, Rybakina lived up to her top seeding in Abu Dhabi, a WTA 500-level event, by taking her seventh title with a 6-1,6-4 win over Daria Kasatkina in the final. Ranked WTA world No. 4, Rybakina then finished runner-up to Swiatek in Doha. The 24-year-old took down two Grand Slam finalists: Leylah Fernandez in the quarters and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the semifinals. Rybakina also reached the quarterfinals in Dubai before withdrawing due to illness.

Jasmine Paolini (UTR 12.42)

At the age of 28, Jasmine Paolini is playing the best tennis of her career. Bouncing back from an opening-round loss in Doha, she claimed her most significant career result to date in Dubai.

Highlighted by a win over No. 8 seed Maria Sakkari in the third round, Paolini put together a dream run to the final. In a hard-fought duel, she came back from a set down to defeat Anna Kalinskaya 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 for the biggest trophy of her career.
After breaking into the WTA Top 30 for the first time at the end of 2023, Paolini has catapulted to No. 14.

Anna Kalinskaya (UTR 12.53)

After a surprise quarterfinal appearance in Melbourne, Kalinskaya cracked the WTA Top 40 rankings for the first time in her career. She’s since rocketed up to a new high of world No. 24 after a superb week in Dubai.

Kalinskaya advanced to the final (her second at the WTA level and definitely the biggest) as a qualifier, and while she ultimately settled for runner-up to Paolini, it’s her victories along the way that was most remarkable.

Taking down three top seeds en route – No. 9 Jelena Ostapenko in the third round, No. 3 Coco Gauff in the quarters, and No. 1 Swiatek in the semifinals – Kalinskaya showed why she’s a name to remember.

Karolina Pliskova (UTR 12.46)

Former WTA world No. 1, Karolina Pliskova captured her first WTA title in four years by claiming the WTA 250 crown in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Even more impressive was the Czech’s performance the following week in Doha.

The 31-year-old picked up four consecutive wins over Kalinskaya, Anastasia Potapova, Linda Noskova, and Naomi Osaka, before having to withdraw ahead of the semifinals versus Swiatek with a lower back injury.

A perennial WTA Top 10 player for many years, Pliskova saw her WTA ranking tumble to world No. 78 at the beginning of the month. She is now back up to No. 38.

All five of these players will hope to maintain their form as the tennis world turns its attention towards the Sunshine Double – Indian Wells and Miami – for the month of March. Both WTA 1000 events are two of the most important tournaments on the calendar.

Rybakina has the most to defend as the 2023 Indian Wells champion and Miami Open finalist, but she was forced to withdraw from Indian Wells due to illness.
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