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BetUS Female Athlete of the Year – Iga Swiatek

Polish Tennis Star Merits No. 1 Ranking

Iga Swiatek, crowned the WTA Player of the Year earlier this month, gets the nod for BetUS Athlete of the Year in women’s sports as well, after our panel of independent writers and contributors that cover sports and all things sports betting cast their votes this week. It was nearly unanimous.

The Polish star exacted a domination over the WTA field that hasn’t been seen since the sepia-toned heyday of the Williams sisters. The 21-year-old led the women’s game with the most titles won, most finals reached and most match wins, the latter of which included a record 37-match winning streak between February and June.

Iga Swiatek of Poland returns a shot against Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus in their Women's Singles Semifinal match
Katelyn Mulcahy - Getty Images - AFP

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Swiatek finished the season with a WTA Tour-leading 67-9 record, eight titles, including two Grand Slams, and the No. 1 ranking.

Swiatek’s 2022 Lookback

Swiatek started the year ranked No. 9 in the world, climbing steadily inside the Top 5 after going on a 14-3 run through the first four tournaments and winning her first title of the season in Doha (defeated Anett Kontaveit 6-2,6-0 in the final). At this point, Swiatek’s incredible domination and record-setting match-winning streak would begin.

Carrying the momentum from her triumphant run in Doha, Swiatek would go on to win Indian Wells by beating Spain’s Paula Badosa 6-4, 6-1 in the final. She then completed the Sunshine Double a fortnight later by beating Naomi Osaka 6-4, 6-0 in the final of the Miami Open to claim the world No. 1 ranking..

Swiatek became the first woman to pull off the Sunshine Double in over a decade and only the fourth woman to achieve the feat in the history of the game, joining an illustrious circle that includes Steffi Graff, Kim Clijsters and Victoria Azarenka.

Then, at 20 years, 308 days old, she would also become the youngest world No. 1 since Caroline Wozniacki in 2010 (20 years, 92 days), and the first player from Poland (man or woman) to ascend to the top of the rankings in singles. Although the retirement of Australian Open champion and reigning world No.1 Ashleigh Barty provided the opening, Swiatek earned it on her own merit then and onwards.

To underscore that point, Swiatek won her fourth straight tournament in Stuttgart (clay) and then picked up her third straight Masters title in Rome to improve to five straight tournament wins since February.

At the 2022 French Open, Swiatek, quite rightly, entered the draw as the odds-on favorite to win in online betting markets. She came through on her favoritism in impressive fashion, dropping just one set along the way and beating American teenager Coco Gauff in the final 6-1, 6-3. Also, check between Katarzyna Kawa and Aliona Bolsova in the WTA Cali tournament.

In winning the French Open, Swiatek extended her streak to 35 straight wins, tying a record set by Venus Williams almost two decades ago. She would go on to win two more matches to improve to 37 straight wins before falling in the third round of the Wimbledon Championships to veteran Alize Cornet.

The US Open series got off to a slow start for the Polish star. Early exits at the National Bank Open in Canada and the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati saw Swiatek head into the U.S. Open with a subpar 2-2 record. It proved to be a moot point, however.

Swiatek reeled off seven wins, twice coming from a set down, to clinch the U.S. Open title. She beat in-form Ons Jabeur 6-2, 7-6 (5) in the final to lift her second Grand Slam title of the year and third overall.

The 21-year-old would play three more events, including the year-end WTA Tour finals. She reached the final in Ostrava where she suffered her first and only loss in a final (l. to Barbora Krejcikova 7-5. 6-7 (4), 3-6). In her last regular-season event, she won the title in San Diego by beating Donna Vekic 6-3, 3-6, 6-0.

Swiatek led a star-studded cast into Fort Worth, Texas, for the WTA Tour finals. And while she clinched her group with a perfect 3-0 record behind wins over Daria Kasatkina, Carolina Garcia and Gauff, she stumbled at the semifinal hurdle, losing to Aryna Sabalenka 2-6, 6-2, 1-6.

Swiatek’s 2023 Outlook

It should come as no surprise that Swiatek is projected as the favorite in tennis betting lookahead markets, beginning with the Australian Open. Swiatek reached the semifinals in 2022, losing to American Danielle Collins.

Swiatek’s biggest threats to the title as per the latest tennis odds are Carolina Garcia (+800), Naomi Osaka (+850), Aryna Sabalenka (+1000), Coco Gauff (+1200), Elena Rybakina (+1200), and Ons Jabeur (+1200). Get ready to witness an exhilarating clash of skills at the ATP Rio de Janeiro tournament as B. Zapata Mirall takes on C. Norrie in a thrilling tennis showdown.

2023 Australian Open Outrights

  • Iga Swiatek +200
  • Caroline Garcia +900
  • Naomi Osaka +850
  • Aryna Sabalenka +1000
  • Elena Rybakina +1200
  • Cori Gauff +1200
  • Ons Jabeur +1200
  • Paula Badosa +1400
  • Maria Sakkari +1400
  • Barbora Krejcikova +1800

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