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February 2023

February witnessed the first WTA 1000 level event of the year and the much-awaited return of Carlos Alcaraz to the tennis scene.

Middle Eastern Tennis Showdowns

The Abu Dhabi WTA 500 tournament culminated in Belinda Bencic's triumphant win, as she came back from a set down to defeat Liudmila Samsonova in the final. Iga Swiatek quickly shook off any lingering disappointment from the Australian Open, sweeping through the competition in Doha and dropping a mere five games on her way to the title. Her final match against World No. 3 Jessica Pegula ended in a decisive 6-3 6-0 victory.

Swiatek's remarkable form persisted in the Dubai 1000 event, where she reached the final without losing a single set. This included a commanding 6-4 6-2 win over Coco Gauff. However, Swiatek was stunned in the final by former French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova, who seized her first 1000 level title with a 6-4 6-2 victory. Krejcikova also ended Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka's 13-match winning streak in the quarterfinals and overcame Pegula in the semifinals.

Medvedev and Norrie Claim First Titles of the Year

Daniil Medvedev, a former World No. 1, returned to form with impressive performances in February. He clinched the title in the 500-level event in Rotterdam, defeating Jannik Sinner in the final. Medvedev continued his winning ways the following week in Doha, where he bested Felix Auger-Aliassime for the second time in two weeks. Andy Murray, meanwhile, extended his streak of improbable comebacks, saving two match points in his opening match against Lorenzo Sonego and five in the semifinals against a formidable Jiri Lehecka.

After missing the Australian Open due to injury, Carlos Alcaraz resumed action during the Golden Swing in South America. He captured the Buenos Aires title and reached the Rio de Janeiro ATP 500 final, narrowly losing to Cameron Norrie. Alcaraz's performance solidifies the event's history of diversity, with nine different champions in nine editions, including Alcaraz himself last year.

Though absent from the courts this month, Novak Djokovic achieved a historic milestone, breaking the record for the most weeks at World No. 1 for a male or female player. Surpassing Steffi Graf's record, Djokovic currently stands at 378 weeks atop the rankings.

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