Women’s world number 1 Iga Swiatek has been forced to apologize for a questionable act that sparked a backlash across the tennis world.
Swiatek collected an amazing 8th title of the year After winning 6-3, 3-6, 6-0 over Croatian Donna Vekic in the final of the San Diego Open.
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However, the victory was overshadowed by a nasty incident where fans accused the Polish star of “cheating” and “improperness”.
The controversial moment came at the break point in the sixth game of the second set when Swiatek dropped her arms in the air at the net in an apparent attempt to distract her opponent.
Vekic went on to win the race after hitting a backhand on the field to open the 4-2 lead, but the incident did not go unnoticed by spectators.
Some fans have claimed that the world number 1 has made up when it comes to using the controversial tactic against her opponents, with the world number one facing the outrage of the tennis world on social media.
“Listen, I love Iga,” tennis journalist Caitlin Thompson wrote, “but waving your arms to distract your opponents during hits is bad and she keeps doing that.”
Other fans have gone so far as to describe Swiatek’s actions as “cheating”.
To her credit, Swiatek addressed the incident on social media after her victory, and offered an apology to Vekic for the controversial tactic.
“This is the best award/cup ever!” Swiatek posted on social media along with a picture of her with a skateboard.
“Thank you San Diego for an amazing (cloudy) week and this unique atmosphere. Love it here. And congratulations DonnaVekic for your amazing run! And sorry for waving my hand over the net.”
Iga Swiatek wins 8th title of this amazing year
Swiatek raised her fist and kissed the crowd after a double fault from Vekic on match point to crown the third set as the top seed raised her level and it looked like Vekic’s qualifying tournament finally ran out of gas.
“I wanted to be involved in everything,” Swiatek said of her style of going into the decider for the new WTA 500 event, which was held at one of California’s surfing hotspots.
“Knowing how well she can serve, I just wanted to be more comfortable in the rematch – I don’t think too much, use my intuition and fight for every ball.”
Swiatek got her first game break in the opening set when Vekic, who had to complete the semi-final due to rain earlier on Sunday, sent a long backhand 4-2.
Another backhand foul gave Swiatek the first set, prompting Vekic to throw her racket to the ground in frustration.
The Croatian refused to go down without a fight, and he adjusted the match with her powerful serve and ground strikes.
In the clincher, Swiatek fired the winning goal into the cross spaces to break the 2-0 lead which turned the momentum firmly in her favour.
Swiatek, who climbed to world number one in April after Australian Ash Party retired, is now 64-8 for the season.
The 21-year-old has won the US Open and French Open this year and will be the favorite to claim the WTA Finals, when the season finale kicks off in Fort Worth, Texas, on October 31.
Vekic, who underwent knee surgery after last year’s Australian Open, can hold her head high after beating Daniel Collins, Arina Sabalenka and Karolina Pliskova and pushing the world’s best player into three sets in the final.
“I am very happy that you are back and I hope we will play many finals,” Swiatek said.
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