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Swiatek wins opener, Gauff thrashes Jabeur




World number two Iga Swiatek overcame a shaky start to defeat Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova in straight sets in her opening WTA Finals match in Cancun.

In Monday’s other clash, US Open champion Coco Gauff opened her tournament with a 6-0, 6-1 drubbing of Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur.


Polish star Swiatek looked out of sorts in an error-strewn first set in which she trailed 2-5 before roaring back to clinch a 7-6 (7/3), 6-0 victory.

The 22-year-old four-time Grand Slam champion is bidding to reclaim her world number one ranking from Aryna Sabalenka at this week’s season-ending finals in Mexico.

However that goal looked unlikely during a nervy opening from Swiatek, who was broken in her first service game before seventh seed Vondrousova held for a 2-0 lead.

Swiatek managed to claw the break back in the fourth game to square the first set at 2-2 but then fell to pieces as Vondrousova broke for a 3-2 lead and then held to go 4-2 up.

Another shaky service game from Swiatek ended in a break of serve to leave Vondrousova in the driving seat at 5-2.


But Vondrousova’s game collapsed thereafter, and Swiatek broke back twice in quick succession to level the set at 5-5 before holding for 6-5.

Although Vondrousova steadied the ship to hold serve and set up a tie break, it was only a temporary reprieve.

Swiatek quickly took control of the breaker and clinched the set when Vondrousova double-faulted.

Vondrousova’s service game went into meltdown in the second set, with Swiatek breaking her three times in a row.

Another Vondrousova double-fault left Swiatek 5-0 up, and the Pole sealed victory on her serve in the final game.


“In the first part of the match I wasn’t feeling like I was playing bad,” Swiatek said.

“I just felt like I was making mistakes on the last shots within the rally. I felt there was room for improvement but I didn’t need to change a lot. So I just tried to be more precise, not play risky.”

The 19-year-old Gauff raced through the first set against Jabeur to win 6-0 in just 23 minutes and then shrugged off a lengthy rain delay to take the second set 6-1 for a convincing win.

“Ons is a great player, so I felt really unsteady the whole match even though it didn’t look like that,” Gauff said.

“But I’m just happy to finally get a win here in this event.”


The WTA Finals sees eight players divided into two groups of four playing in a round-robin first phase, with the top two in each group advancing to the semi-finals on Saturday

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Shadab Khan opens up about Babar Azam’s resignation from captaincy




Pakistan all-rounder, Shadab Khan, has expressed his perspective on Babar Azam’s recent choice to relinquish the captaincy across all formats of the national cricket team.

In an exclusive interview with Cricket Pakistan, Shadab conveyed his admiration for Babar’s decision and conveyed his heartfelt best wishes. 

The leg-spinner also shared positive sentiments regarding the newly appointed T20I captain for the national side, Shaheen Shah Afridi.


“Look, everyone has their own decision, and Babar has stepped down. We send him our best wishes. We’ve had a great time with him as the captain for Pakistan. Now, Shaheen has taken on the role, and we’re excited about it. We’ve witnessed his [Shaheen’s] captaincy in the PSL, and it feels great. Let’s see how it goes playing under his captaincy for the first time; it will give an idea of how much fun it is, and I am very excited to play under Shaheen’s captaincy,” Shadab said.

On November 15th, Babar relinquished his captaincy following a meeting with Zaka Ashraf, the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Management Committee.

After stepping down, Shan Masood was appointed as the Test captain of the Pakistan Men’s Cricket Team, and Shaheen Shah Afridi was named as the T20I captain by the PCB.

Shaheen’s first task as the T20I captain for the Men in Green side will be leading the team against New Zealand in a five-match T20 series scheduled to take place from January 12 to January 21, 2024.

Pakistan vs New Zealand T20I series schedule:

  • January 12: New Zealand vs Pakistan – First T20I in Auckland
  • January 14: New Zealand vs Pakistan – Second T20I in Hamilton
  • January 17: New Zealand vs Pakistan – Third T20I in Dunedin
  • January 19: New Zealand vs Pakistan – Fourth T20I in Christchurch
  • January 21: New Zealand vs Pakistan – Fifth T20I in Christchurch