Swiatek content with hard court progress after Australian Open exit

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Jan 27 (Reuters) - Iga Swiatek's bid for a second Grand Slam title was ended by a crushing defeat against Danielle Collins at the Australian Open on Thursday, but the world number nine said her run to the semi-finals showed how much she has progressed as a hardcourt player.

Poland's Swiatek, who was beaten 6-4 6-1 in 78 minutes by the American, also reached the semi-finals of the tune-up event in Adelaide earlier this month, a tournament which she won in 2021.

"This is my best result on hard court besides winning Adelaide," Swiatek told reporters. "I mean, I don't know if winning Adelaide is better than (reaching) the semi-final of an Australian Open.

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"So that's positive, because I always wanted to improve on hard court. I like the fact that I won against Sorana (Cirstea) and Kaia (Kanepi) like mentally and physically, and I gave my heart on court.

"I'm pretty happy that I'm able to also play aggressive and be ready on fast surfaces. Maybe I wasn't today, but usually."

Swiatek's two losses in the 2022 season have come against the two players who will face off in the women's singles final, Collins and home favourite Ash Barty in Adelaide.

When asked who her pick was for the final, Swiatek said it was "tough to predict" but added that world number one Barty stood a better chance of coming up with a plan to deal with Collins' aggressive game than she did.

"Ash is playing differently," Swiatek said. "She's playing different than any other girl, and she can really reset the rally even when someone is really playing fast.

"She's world number one, so I think it's (a) bigger possibility that she's going to find a solution for Danielle's game than me.

"If she's going to do that, I want to learn from that and see what she has done."

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Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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